Niska Isle Bridge project on schedule

The new Niska Isle Bridge currently under construction off Rosendale Road could be complete as ea


The new Niska Isle Bridge currently under construction off Rosendale Road could be complete as early as mid-November, the construction supervisor said.

The bridge must be done by Nov. 30, construction supervisor Mike Gray said. But it could be done a week or two before then.

“Everything has been going very well,” Gray said.

Crews have been working on the new bridge since spring; the project has been in the planning stages for several years.

State Department of Transportation officials in March pegged the bridge costs at $4.9 million.

The bridge serves a handful of homes on what is called Niska Isle, off Rosendale Road. The bridge is the only way on and off the plot of land, which is actually a peninsula. The bridge takes Ferry Road over the Mohawk River inlet and the bike path. The bridge is one of at least four state-owned bridges in the greater Capital Region serving fewer than two dozen homes. By 2008, all three other bridges had work done costing more than $1 million.

Gray said the state had two choices when considering what to do with the old Niska Isle Bridge: build a new one or buy out the property on the other side.

“It would have been more costly to purchase the property and it might have been quite controversial,” Gray said of that possibility.

Officials have previously said an overland route was also considered but deemed not feasible.

The new bridge is being built next to the old bridge. The new deck is done and the bridge rail is going up. Left to be finished is the embankment for the roadway leading up to the bridge.

The entire project is to be completed by next June. That includes removing a causeway built to allow construction, demolition of the old bridge and replacement of wetlands lost in building the new bridge, Gray said.

Exactly how the old bridge will come down is not yet set, Gray said, and will be determined in the contractor’s demolition proposal.

The old bridge, originally built in 1916, has been deteriorating for some time. By this past spring, it barely rated above 2.5 on the state bridge safety score. Seven is the highest possible score; lower than 5 is considered deficient.

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.

Among the longtime residents are members of the Burger family. Melvin Burger Jr. noted last week worries about getting services over the bridge, including firetrucks. The residents, he said, are just glad to have a new bridge.

“We’ve needed a new bridge and we’re getting it,” he said. “It’s necessary to continue life over here.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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