by Alex Brooks
A public information meeting was held on November 18 to tell the public about the project to replace the bridge over the Little Hoosic River at Broken Wheel Road. Presenters were from the engineering firm that is designing and managing the project, Greenman Pederson Inc., known as GPI.
[private]The existing bridge was built in 1949 of steel and concrete and has now deteriorated. It is now rated at 4.18. Any rating under four is very bad, according to the engineer presenting. There is a big crack in the west abutment and significant scour under that abutment. There is a void about three feet deep under the abutment. It is currently posted for a maximum of 18 tons.
The bridge has been red-tagged several times, requiring emergency repair work to get it open again.
In addition, the winding and steep approach to the bridge makes it difficult or impossible for large trucks to get over it. Petersburgh Fire trucks have had trouble getting across, according to Town Supervisor Krahforst.
The new bridge is a pre-cast concrete arch bridge. It will have a span of 55′ so the ends can be set back a bit from the edge of the stream. It will run straight, at a right angle to Route 22, so large trucks will have no trouble negotiating the roadway. A 75 year service life is expected from the new bridge.
The total cost of the project is expected to be $880,000. Design work will continue through next summer and plans will be submitted for State DOT approval by next fall so that contracts can be let in the early spring of 2015 and construction can take place during the 2015 building season with the project completed by fall of 2015.
The Federal Government will pay 80% of the cost, the State will pay 15% and the Town of Petersburgh must pay 5%, which will be about $45,000.
Joe Dunlop criticized the design for being too big and expensive. He noted that a bridge over the Little Hoosic River had been built recently of a much simpler design, four I-beams with a timber deck, that was probably less than a quarter of the cost of the bridge the GPI engineers were proposing. The engineer replied that projects supported by federal funds must conform to higher standards, and they therefore end up being more expensive. But he said the pre-cast unit they propose to use is an economical, long lasting, maintenance free bridge.
Gordon Batcheller asked about what procedures are used to make sure that the construction work does not impair the quality of the Little Hoosic River, which is a high quality trout stream. The engineers described the precautions that will be taken to protect the river during construction.
Written comments about the project can be sent either to the Project Engineer, Christopher Cornwell, P. E. at Greenman Pederson Inc., 80 Wolf Road, Suite 300, Albany, NY, 12205 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Petersburgh Town Supervisor Siegfried Krahforst, P.O. Box 130, Petersburgh, NY, 12138.[/private]