BLACK BROOK - Work is expected to soon begin on a major artery between the towns of Black Brook and Saranac.
The bridge on Silver Lake Road which spans across the Saranac River, south of the Casey Road intersection, is scheduled to be replaced this month. The new bridge will be constructed of concrete instead of steel used in the current structure.
Clinton County Highway Superintendent Albert H. Rascoe said the need for the replacement is based on the circa 1946 structure receiving a categorization as being "structurally deficient" during an August 2008 Federal Highway Administration inspection.
"It's considered to be below the federal scoring sufficiency, which is the cutoff point for replacing or repairing a bridge structure," Rascoe explained, adding "deteriorated elements" are what led to the determination.
Construction is expected to begin sometime within the next two weeks, dependent on weather conditions, said Rascoe. When the project does begin, the highway superintendent said highly-visible signage will be put in place in advance, marking the detour route. The route will consist of using Guide Board, Swastika, Goodrich Mills and Turnpike roads.
"If you live on the south side of the bridge, it will take a few extra minutes, that's for sure," said Rascoe. "But, if you're traveling through the area, then the detour's not so bad. The residents will be the most affected."
Regardless if you're a nearby resident or just passing through, Rascoe said it will be a good idea to add a little extra time into your travel plans.
"Depending on where you're coming from or what you're doing, the detour may or may not have a big impact on you," he said.
The project will consist of removing the entire existing structure, including its foundation, pouring a new foundation and constructing the new bridge complete with a new deck. Railings on and leading up to the bridge will also be replaced and the portion of road approaching the bridge from both directions will receive new paving.
"There's a lot of work involved," said Rascoe, adding the result will be "a bridge that will be slightly wider, a little bit longer in span."
"It's a complete structural replacement to meet current [FHA] standards," he added. "It should be good for 60 plus years."
The project, which is anticipated to be completed by Labor Day, will be handled by Luck Brothers Inc., the Plattsburgh firm which was awarded the contract last September. The county's role is managing the contract and to provide a full-time inspector on-site while work is performed.
The project will be wholly-funded through $2.2 million in economic stimulus money through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said. Rascoe. The funding is part of an additional $13.6 million for transportation projects in the North Country area awarded through the ARRA last June. According to the office of Gov. David A. Paterson, the investments are to "provide for essential highway and bridge repairs and other long-term improvements" expected to create an estimated 326 jobs across the state.