Saratoga County

Contract at hand to fix long-shuttered Northumberland bridge

A $2.4 million contract to restore the Dix Bridge at Northumberland as a regional pedestrian-bicycle

Dix Bridge

A $2.4 million contract to restore the Dix Bridge at Northumberland as a regional pedestrian-bicycle Hudson River crossing will go before county supervisors next week.

The county’s Public Works and Law and Finance committees, at meetings Tuesday in Ballston Spa, unanimously recommended awarding a construction contract to Tioga Construction Co. of Herkimer, which submitted the lowest of five bids.

The long-planned project would link Saratoga and Washington counties as part of a regional recreation trail project.

“It’s a real good project. It’s in keeping with our green infrastructure plan,” said Public Works Committee Chairwoman Jean Raymond, R-Edinburg.

The bridge work is being funded primarily with federal money. An 80 percent federal grant was awarded in 2009, and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is providing $300,000.

The county’s cost is expected to be $300,000 or less.

The full Board of Supervisors will vote on the contract Sept. 18.

The bridge restoration is part of a state-supported plan, the Historic Hudson-Hoosic Partnership. Plans are for a cycling and hiking trail system running along the Hudson and Hoosic rivers through rural parts of Saratoga and Washington counties, with attractions along the way to appeal to visitors.

The Dix Bridge restoration must be done by Oct. 31, 2013, though it will be up to the contractor whether to start this fall or next spring.

“It’s a fantastic project,” said Northumberland town Supervisor Bill Peck.

The three-span, iron-truss bridge was built in 1895 as a free alternative to a private toll bridge at Schuylerville. Local farmers and a mill owner paid for it, tired of having to pay tolls to get to their fields or so employees could get to work.

The bridge, which was eventually taken over by Saratoga and Washington counties, has been closed for nearly 20 years due to deterioration.

The bridge is next to the Hudson Crossing Park, just a little north of Schuylerville, at Champlain Canal Lock 5.

“It’s the link that literally connects the two counties,” said Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Wood, R-Saratoga.

The bridge, once restored, will also be open to snowmobiles in the winter, Wood noted.

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