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Work set to begin on bridge project

Work set to begin on bridge project

Work is set to begin later this month on the 62-year-old bridge that carries motorists over the H

Work set to begin on bridge project
Cars drive on the Route 67 bridge over the Hudson River between Mechanicville and Schaghticoke on Thursday. A $5.7 million rehabilitation project on the bridge is set to start later this month.

Work is set to begin later this month on the 62-year-old bridge that carries motorists over the Hudson River between Mechanicville and Schaghticoke.

The $5.7 million state Department of Transportation project was recently awarded to the Reale Construction Co. based in Ticonderoga.

Workers will repair and strengthen four concrete piers and replace the bridge’s 18 bearings. The concrete road across the bridge will also be resurfaced.

The two lanes of Route 67 will be reduced to one lane of traffic once construction begins. A temporary traffic signal will alternate the lane between eastbound and westbound drivers.

The bridge will remain open to pedestrians, according to state DOT spokesman Peter Van Keuren. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“This has been on our radar for quite a while,” Van Keuren said. “Our facilities are important to us and I think they’re important to the residents.”

The bridge’s bearings and travel surface were given a rating of 4 on a scale of 1 to 7 in an October 2007 study, Van Keuren said, with 7 being the best possible rating.

“It’s not as bad as some of those bridges that we read about in the papers,” said Mechanicville Mayor Anthony Sylvester. “It’s a lifeline for the people in Hemstreet Park that come over here and go shopping. It certainly helps us.”

The bridge will be closed for three or four weekend days at some point during the project. Motorists will be detoured north to Stillwater Bridge Road, connecting Stillwater and Schaghticoke.

About 7,500 cars go across the Route 67 bridge daily, according to the state DOT.

“There’s a lot of traffic that comes from the north and goes that way in the morning,” said Schaghticoke Town Supervisor Jean Carlson. “It’ll be a good project and I’m glad to see them being proactive.”

Mechanicville’s main concern was access for emergency vehicles during the project, according to Sylvester.

Police Chief Joseph Waldron said that police will ask the construction crew to stop traffic on the bridge if police know in advance that they will need to use the bridge.

“We’ve thought about all these little contingencies that may pop up and we’re working closely with DOT to make sure that it isn’t a mess,” Waldron said. “There are areas that absolutely need to be replaced on that bridge.”

The bridge repair is part of the $110 million annual rehabilitation budget for DOT Region 1, which stretches from Essex to Greene counties, Van Keuren said.

A bridge collapse last year in Minnesota prompted then-Gov. Elliot Spitzer to set aside $140 million in the state budget for repairs to local and state bridges.

But, Van Keuren said that the Route 67 bridge was not one of the bridges identified as part of that spending plan.

“The work that is being done on this bridge is not a result of what happened in Minnesota,” he said.

“Residents of New York state can take comfort in the fact that we have one of the most comprehensive and thorough bridge inspection programs in the country.”

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