Schenectady County

DOT plans $3.6M Niskayuna bridge project

A bridge carrying residents to the “Niska Isle” portion of the town would be redone under a state pl
Kathy Putz, left, and her husband David Putz, of Niskayuna walk along the Niskayuna Bike Path Wednesday under the Ferry Road Bridge. The Putz’s say that they frequently use the bike path.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Kathy Putz, left, and her husband David Putz, of Niskayuna walk along the Niskayuna Bike Path Wednesday under the Ferry Road Bridge. The Putz’s say that they frequently use the bike path.

A bridge carrying residents to the “Niska Isle” portion of the town would be redone under a state plan, officials announced Wednesday.

The state Department of Transportation scheduled a discussion on the project for Jan. 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Iroquois Middle School.

The current bridge carries residents along Ferry Road, over an inlet of the Mohawk River. It connects to a section that was once an island, but is now a peninsula.

The preferred alternative would be to replace the bridge on a new alignment just to the east of the existing bridge, state officials said. The work is estimated to cost $3.6 million.

Project manager Richard Filkins said Wednesday the bridge is in need of replacement. It’s essentially the original 1910s bridge built when the canal was more active, with early 1980s upgrades.

“It’s not in the best condition, but it’s still safe,” Filkins said.

About nine homes and as many as four businesses, including a farm, are on the stretch of land. Many people have lived there for decades with the bridge their only access.

The bridge replacement was the most feasible option, officials said. Other options, including a land connection and buying out land owners, have also been considered but were deemed too costly, Filkins said.

“There are a lot of wetland impacts and farmland impacts,” Filkins said of the overland route. “We want to avoid both those things whenever possible.”

The bridge solution, Filkins said, has also been favored by town officials.

The proposed bridge would be lower than the original, which included clearance for passing trains of that time. The bridge would connect at-grade with the town bicycle and pedestrian trail.

If all goes as planned, the new bridge would be designed in 2009 and built in 2010, Filkins said.

A presentation is expected at the DOT’s meeting, followed by questions and comments.

Anyone unable to attend can contact Filkins at 388-5216 or write to: Richard Filkins, project manager, NYSDOT Region 1 Design, 328 State St., Schenectady, NY 12305.

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