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State gives Twin Counties $4.5M to fix bridge

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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media A bridge on Valley View Road in Copake Falls.
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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media A bridge on Valley View Road in Copake Falls.
November 19, 2018 01:50 pm

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced recently more than $262.2 million funding is being awarded to counties statewide to help pay for needed bridge repairs and the Twin Counties were awarded about $4.5 million.

Cuomo unveiled the new round of funding last week through the state’s Bridge NY program, which provides municipalities some of or all of the necessary funds to help fix bridges in need. Of the total $262.2 million awarded this year, which will fund 165 individual projects in 95 communities across the state, the Capital Region was awarded $29.53 million and the Mid-Hudson Valley was awarded $33.03 million.

Greene County will receive about $3.4 million for two bridge projects it is looking begin and complete by 2020. The money will be used to replace bridges on Bloomer Road in Hunter and Timber Lake Road in Lexington.

The Bloomer Road bridge was built 1968 and has been repaired multiple times over the years, most recently after Hurricane Irene in 2011. The Timberlake Road bridge was built in the late 1980s and has been repaired multiple times since it was built.

“Both bridges are safe [for current use], but have significant problems,” said Greene County Highway Superintendent Robert Van Valkenburg.

Columbia County was awarded about $1.5 million, which will cover about 95 percent of the funding to complete necessary repair work on a bridge on Valley View Road in Copake Falls. The county will cover the remaining 5 percent of the cost, which is about $78,000.

“This is very welcome funding,” said Columbia County Engineering Department Director Dean Knox. “This is a project that would need to get done soon either way. It is reaching the end of its life.”

The bridge, which is located off of Route 644 before the entrance to the Taconic State Park and carries Valley View Road over the Bash Bish brook, has about a 130-foot span and a steel grate deck. The project was one of three the county applied to the state for funding.

“If you stand on it and look down, you can see the water,” Knox said. “We have been trying to replace all the bridges in the county like that because they are headaches to maintain.”

Heavy rains and flooding cause the brook to swell and run over the bridge, resulting in erosion to the structure, which collects debris and is difficult to paint and maintain, Knox said.

The final plans for the bridge will be decided in the preliminary designing of the project, which Knox said will start in the spring. But the project may include new support beams and the replacement of one of the three abutments.

Knox is planning to have the final design completed and put the project out to bid by 2020. Work on the bridge is expected to begin during the 2021 construction season, he added.

Throughout the process the state Department of Transportation will administer the funding for the project and provide strict oversight.

The state has invested more than $300 million since 2015 in enhanced assistance to municipalities for accelerated bridge and culvert projects.

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic prosperity and the safety of New Yorkers and visitors alike,” Cuomo said. “By providing Bridge NY funding to local governments in every region of the state, we are ensuring bridges and culverts remain safe and reliable and continue supporting economic growth for decades to come.”