New pedestrian bridge being set in place

SARANAC LAKE – Contractors hired by the state Department of Transportation have started work on the new pedestrian bridge over LaPan Highway.

A new span has been set in place across the road, which is part of state Route 3, between the two abutments that held the old bridge in place until it was demolished in August 2012.

DOT spokesman Michael Flick said work on the new bridge is expected to be complete by the end of June. The $177,000 project is being handled by Luck Brothers Inc. of Plattsburgh.

The new bridge will be similar but higher than the one that was razed after being hit twice by heavy equipment being pulled on a trailer.

The new design – a concrete and steel beam span with galvanized fencing along its sides – didn’t sit well with the village board, which called on the state to come up with a more attractive bridge for one of the major gateways to the community.

Flick said the agency didn’t have the money to build a nicer-looking bridge.

“While what’s going back in looks quite similar to what came out, it allows for a safe, affordable solution and to get the thing back open so we don’t have kids running across Route 3,” he said. “This was as quick as we could turn the project around and as affordable.”

Flick said there are some opportunities to make “minor modifications” to the aesthetics of the bridge.

“What we can still do, if the village as a whole decides they’d like to pursue it, is maybe some plantings, like a planting bed with a stone wall and a sign that says ‘Welcome to Saranac Lake,'” Flick said. “There are some things we can do to help spruce it up, if you will.”