HUDSON — The public got a chance to hear from the engineers and submit comments on their design plans for the new Ferry Street Bridge on Monday.
The meeting was held at the Hudson Area Library at 51 N. Fifth St. At the head of the community room in the library sat Mayor Rick Rector, Department of Public Works Superintendent Rob Perry and representatives from the surveying and engineering firm, Creighton Manning, of Albany, which is designing the bridge.
Among the topics discussed by Creighton Manning were the next project phases, the total cost and design plans for the new bridge. The public also got a chance to look at preliminary design plans, which rested on easels in the room.
The 113-year-old bridge was closed to vehicles in 2015 over safety concerns. A new bridge would restore Front Street’s connection to the waterfront, and move traffic heading to the city’s boat launch away from the level railroad crossing. Traffic to the waterfront now crosses the level train tracks via Broad Street.
But before construction is set to begin in 2020, officials and Creighton Manning are looking for public comment on the design.
The proposed new bridge would have a 75-year lifespan. The proposed elevation of the bridge would be 23 feet with a span of 70 feet. The new bridge would be a foot longer and have 2-feet higher clearance beneath than the existing bridge, meeting Amtrak and federal highway safety standards.
While most of the top of the bridge would be replaced, the existing stone masonry abutments on either side of the bridge are in good shape and will remain, saving taxpayer money, said Steve Hagy, project engineer with Creighton Manning. An abandoned water line could also be repaired for possible future expansion of the water main.
Rehabilitation of the bridge was not possible. The deck has holes and the floor beams and bearing plates, or metal placed under one end of a truss beam to distribute the load, were deteriorated. The existing span is too low and does not meet federal highway requirements and Amtrak safety standards, Hagy said.
“There are too many things going wrong with this truss to make rehabilitation feasible,” Hagy said.
About $3 million in local, state and federal funds have been secured to cover the total cost of the project. About 80 percent would be funded by the federal government, 15 percent would be funded by the state and 5 percent would be funded by Hudson. The city has an additional $600,000 capital reserve fund for the project if needed, according to Creighton Manning.
“This is not a grant from the federal government,” Charles Tutujian, project manager with Creighton Manning, said. “It is a reimbursement. Basically every step of the design process, as long as we follow regulations through the feds and the state, will be reimbursed as it goes through design and also through construction.”
Several comments from the public concerned the bridge’s trusses. The bridge’s century-old trusses could be removed, stored and repurposed, Hagy said. While the trusses could not be incorporated within the structure because of design standards, the trusses could be used above or on either side of the structure for aesthetic purposes.
In response to a question by Sarah Sterling, the experts said the bridge’s new elevation would be suitable for vehicles with boats in tow. The bridge is designed for speeds up to 30 mph, but speeds will obviously be slower, Hagy said. Rector said he would check with the Hudson Police Department about reducing the speed limit on the bridge.
The final design report for the bridge is due in January with approval taking place the same month. Advertising for construction bids would begin in January 2020. Construction would begin in April 2020 and conclude in September 2020.
Another meeting could be held in the future to discuss aesthetics of the bridge, Tutujian said.
The public may submit comments about the designs, which can be found on the city’s website, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be accepted for two weeks.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to email@example.com, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.