If state officials continue to consider plans to close and remove the Nelson Avenue Extension bridge in Saratoga Springs, it will be over Saratoga County’s objections.
The county Board of Supervisors went on record unanimously Tuesday as being against the closing of the bridge, which crosses the Northway in Saratoga Springs but connects the city to a rural part of the town of Malta.
State Department of Transportation officials said they have made no decisions, but word of the possible closure has aroused opposition from people living in the area. The Malta Town Board has come out against the possibility, and the Saratoga Springs City Council was scheduled to discuss the matter Tuesday night, as opponents seek to build support.
“We’re doing excellent,” said Peter Balet, a former Malta town highway superintendent who lives near the bridge.
“We would like to save this bridge. It’s very important to the community,” said his daughter, Suzanne Balet-Haight, who owns a flower business on the Malta side of the bridge.
Speaking at the county board meeting in Ballston Spa, Balet-Haight said the bridge’s removal would create a public safety issue as well as cutting off farms and businesses from a convenient connection to Saratoga Springs. The bridge is also heavily used by bicyclists and joggers, she noted.
“You have friends here on this board,” county board Chairman Arthur “Mo” Wright, R-Hadley, told Balet-Haight before the vote.
The bridge was built in 1962, and DOT officials said it is at the end of its useful life. They have argued that the bridge sees little traffic — only 440 vehicles per day, according to DOT, though local residents dispute that. The Crescent Avenue bridge crosses the Northway within less than two miles, DOT officials have noted.
A replacement bridge would cost $5.5 million, and DOT officials have noted the financial constraints they face. Residents say the money should be found for a replacement.
DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani has emphasized that no decision has been made. He said a public information meeting will be held sometime in September.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.