The state Department of Transportation this week “red-flagged” two city-owned bridges over the Anthony Kill, Mayor Anthony Sylvester told the City Council Wednesday.
DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen said a red flag means a bridge has problems that need “to be addressed quickly to ensure the continued safety of the bridge.” But that doesn’t mean it’s in danger of collapse, she said. If there were any such danger, she said, the DOT would close the bridge.
The bridges are on North Main Street, in front of City Hall, and a short distance to the north on Frances Street. They are among four in Mechanicville described as “structurally deficient” by the DOT. According to a DOT Web site, the one near City Hall was built in 1920, and the one on Frances Street in 1910.
After the meeting, Public Works Commissioner Jack Messore showed where a portion of the foundation facade had collapsed under the bridge near City Hall, and other deficiencies at both bridges. But Messore said city and state engineers have determined that the bridges are in no danger of collapse.
Pete Van Keuren, spokesman for the DOT’s Capital Region office, confirmed that the two bridges had been red-flagged, unlike the other two structurally deficient bridges in the city. He said the state would expect the city to take some kind of action within six weeks, possibly involving traffic changes to reduce the traffic flow over the bridges.
Messore said he hopes to fix the two bridges soon, using surplus funds in the city budget.
The other two bridges deemed structurally deficient by DOT are not owned by the city. One is owned by DOT, carrying Route 67 over the Champlain Canal, and the other is owned by Saratoga County, according to the DOT Web site.
In other business at the council meeting, Messore told the council about a scheduled Nov. 15 benefit dinner for the family of Andy Hollenbeck, an employee in his department who had a stroke on Sept. 8, and remains seriously impaired at Schenectady’s Sunnyview Hospital. The dinner will on Nov. 15 at American Legion Post 91, 427 S. Main St.
Messore said donations of items for a raffle are being sought, and money contributions can be made to a Bank of America account set up in the name of Hollenbeck’s wife, Mary Alice. They have three young children, Messore said.
The council voted to spend $30,660 for a 2008 Dodge Durango for the city Police Dedepartment, to replace a Ford Expedition. Police Chief Joseph Waldron said he could pay for the SUV out of this year’s budget allocation for his department. Waldron said he planned to give the Expedition to the John Ahearn Rescue Squad.
Larry Whalen, president of the rescue squad, said it could use the vehicle. He said later it would be used by the squad’s paramedics, so that they can travel separately to and from the site of a medical emergency, and do not necessarily have to go with less serious cases when emergency medical technicians are transporting them to a hospital.
City Attorney Val Serbalik declined to answer a question from citizen activist Michael Coleman, who asked if the attorney was investigating his allegation that the city Water Department had improperly handled a sale to a private water company.
Messore said later he was confident there was no impropriety, and that he has been trying to increase sales of city water to benefit taxpayers.