Essex County to replace several bridges

Essex County has awarded bids for several bridge construction projects this month.

A total of eight bridges in the county are in the process of being replaced or rehabbed. Some of the bridges are still in the early stages of that process, others will begin this month and one bridge was recently completed.

“There’s quite a pile of them,” said Chris Garrow, the Essex County department of public works superintendent.

Garrow attended a pre-construction meeting for the St. Huberts Bridge in Keene recently.

The St. Huberts Bridge, which runs over Bedee Brook, will be replaced. It was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene and has been closed to motorists. The repairs on the St. Huberts bridge are planned to begin before the end of August.

“We’re putting it back to preexisting conditions before Irene,” Garrow said.

Luck Brothers Inc., based out of Plattsburgh, was awarded the contract to replace the bridge for $239,000. Luck Brothers was the lowest bidder out of 10 other bids. The county was awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to complete the St. Huberts Bridge.

Keene town Councilman Paul Marton said the bridge being out has been an inconvenience to the people on St. Huberts Road.

“There’s no bridge in St. Huberts, so its pretty timely to get it done now if possible,” Martin said.

Cemetery Bridge in Keene, which runs over Norton Brook, will be replaced. The project was awarded to the second highest bidder, Slate Hill Constructors Inc., for $282,000. The lowest bidder, Pat Armstrong Inc. was at first awarded the bid at $209,000, but Armstrong declined to take the project.

“I don’t recall if major repairs were ever made to it, but it has been examined and apparently it seems to be in jeopardy due to age,” Martin said.

Cemetery Bridge is about 100 years old. Kirk Bassarab, deputy superintendent of department of public works, said Cemetery Bridge is one of the lowest rated bridges in the county. Construction on the bridge will begin at the end of August.

“In Keene alone, after (Tropical Storm) Irene, we lost four bridges in their entirety, completely washed away,” Bassarab said.

Only two bridges that were lost have yet to be replaced, Dr. Ray Foot Bridge and St. Huberts Bridge. Dr. Ray Foot Bridge used to run over the East Branch of the Ausable River on Hulls Falls Road. The replacement of Dr. Ray Foot Bridge is unlikely to occur this year, but the county is working with FEMA to get the project moving forward.

Grove Road Bridge, which spans the East Branch of the Ausable River, will cost $2,336,000 to replace. The bid was awarded to Bast Hatfield Construction based out of Clifton Park. The company was the lowest of two bidders.

Bast Hatfield Construction has already begun to start preparation work on its replacement.

“The existing bridge that’s there will stay put during the construction of the new bridge,” Bassarab said. “The new bridge is being built just down stream, and when the new bridge is completely done we’ll put traffic on it and remove the old bridge.”

The bridge in Jay was constructed in the 1900s. Its foundation was “undermined” due to heavy flooding in 2011 and it was temporarily repaired in 2012, according to report written by engineer Fred Dente. The 125-foot bridge will be replaced with a new steel truss.

Work has also started on the Tower Avenue Bridge in Ticonderoga. Other bridges in the county up for replacement or repair are the Letsonville Bridge in Schroon Lake, Morehouse Bridge in Willsboro and H. Wright Bridge in Crown Point. Paperwork was recently filed with the Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation for Lord Howe Street Bridge in Ticonderoga.

Construction finished recently at the Tahawus Bridge in Newcomb.

County Manager Dan Palmer said the bridge replacements would be paid for through a $4.3 million bridge bond. Some of the bridges are under federal authority, which means the county only has to pay a five percent share of the cost, Palmer said. Essex County maintains a total of 178 bridges.