Funding now in place for Johnstown to replace North Perry Street bridge

Two years after the state Department of Transportation red-flagged a North Perry Street bridge as da

Two years after the state Department of Transportation red-flagged a North Perry Street bridge as dangerous and in need of repair, state and federal funding has been approved to pay 95 percent of the cost of replacing it.

City Engineer Chad Kortz said building a new bridge will cost approximately $1.5 million. The federal government will pay for 80 percent of the cost, the state will pay 15 percent and the city of Johnstown will pay the remaining 5 percent, about $75,000.

“We finally convinced the state to give us some money,” Kortz said. “We’ve been dealing with this for a while. This was on DOT’s list to provide federal highway administration money.”

Kortz said the first two phases of the project, a right-of-way study and a preliminary engineering study, have been approved by the state. He said the preliminary design phase and bidding process for the project will take place in 2011 and the construction will begin 2012.

The bridge being replaced is a stone arch bridge built in 1878. It spans the Cayadutta Creek and is located just north of Smith Street on North Perry Street, one of Johnstown’s busiest and most important thoroughfares.

Since the state DOT red-flagged the bridge in October 2008, the city’s Department of Public Works has barricaded the sidewalk around the bridge to keep people and cars away from it.

Kortz said the replacement will likely be a pre-cast concrete span, which will look like a rectangular concrete box.

City Treasurer Mike Gifford said the city will probably issue a one-year bond anticipation note to borrow the $1.5 million for the project and then use the state and federal money to pay back 95 percent of the loan. He said now is a good time for infrastructure projects and a good time for municipalities to borrow because interest rates for bond anticipation notes can be as low as 2 percent.

“One good thing about a down economy is projects generally cost less and the interest rates for borrowing are considerably lower. The rates we’re seeing now are a lot better than the 6 percent rates we were seeing a few years ago,” Gifford said.

Kortz said he will have resolutions prepared for the Common Council’s Oct. 19 meeting for the city to begin the engineering studies needed for the project. He said the company performing the studies will be AECOM, a global company based on Los Angeles which has an office in Schuylerville.

After the North Perry Street bridge, the city will target repairs needed to bridges on Miller Street and North Chase Street, said Kortz.

Categories: Schenectady County

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