A $1.2 billion investment in the state’s roads and bridges will mean more than a quarter-billion dollars injected into the Capital Region, including $18 million for upgrades to the Western Gateway Bridge that connects Scotia and Schenectady.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday confirmed the list of New York Works Accelerated Road and Bridge Projects published by The Daily Gazette on Sunday. The list includes $145 million for the Patroon Island Bridge on Interstate, $20 million for the Twin Bridges on the Northway, $2 million for a stretch of Route 5 in Montgomery County and $2.3 million for an 11-mile portion of Route 7 in Schenectady County.
The program, which is funded with a mix of federal loans and state money, is predicted by Cuomo to rebuild the state’s foundation and create thousands of jobs.
It was recently determined that 32 percent of the state’s bridges and 40 percent of its roads were deficient.
In the case of the Capital Region, projects were culled from a list approved by the Capital District Transportation Committee. In an emergency meeting March 9, the committee approved a list of potential projects, which the state Department of Transportation then chose from.
“This process this time around has been a little different,” said CDTC Deputy Director David Jukins. “We weren’t really told what the projects would be.”
He described the process as a “leap of faith,” but said there was faith in the DOT to choose meaningful and cost-effective projects. Jukins added that the scope of the projects represented a change, noting that deficient bridges were replaced entirely in the past. In order to speed up the process and keep costs down, New York Works’ bridge projects would mostly consist of deck replacement, he said.
“It will extend the life of our bridges 20 years or more,” he said.
In the case of the Patroon Island Bridge, which is the largest investment in the Capital Region and will receive deck and steel replacement, work was originally scheduled to start in three years, but it will now be started in the next 12 months. Additionally, the plan will be cut from a five- or eight-year project to just two years.
In Schenectady County, deck replacement projects include $18 million for the Western Gateway Bridge, $852,000 for State Street over the Crosstown Connection and $2.13 million for the Crosstown Connection over Interstate 890.
“I think it’s great to see the investment coming into Schenectady County,” said Schenectady County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara.
As a civil engineer, Santabarbara said he is aware that these types of deficiencies might go unnoticed by the public. In the case of the Western Gateway Bridge, he said, “Some people may not realize it needs work. You go to work over the bridge and assume everything is OK.”
State Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, said Senate Republicans worked hard to make sure this program emerged in the final version of the budget. “Our roads and bridges need attention upstate,” he said.
“Montgomery County in particular, because of the flooding … they certainly need attention,” Farley said.
Montgomery County is getting more than $5 million for road paving projects and $1.2 million for a bridge on Route 162 in the town of Root.
The bridge was a project chosen solely by the DOT without local input, said Root town Supervisor John Thayer. He said it wasn’t clear work was needed, but added, “I’m just glad the state is doing what they need to do to keep our roads and bridges up to par.”
The entire list of Capital Region projects can be found on the Capital Region Scene blog at http://dailygazette.com.
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Categories: Business, Schenectady County