The new $47 million Batchellerville Bridge is within a couple weeks of completion, according to the state Department of Transportation.
State officials at one point had hoped the 3,078-foot span across the Great Sacandaga Lake would be finished by the end of October — and the bridge itself is done. But some final touches are still being put in place, said DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani, who said it will open this month.
“We still have more paving to do, line striping and bridge lighting, but we’re looking at some point this month,” he said.
Some paving still needs to be done on the bridge itself, he said, as well as on the approaches.
The bridge’s opening will mark the end of a nearly three-year project that has been closely watched by residents of this tiny southern Adirondack community, which is highly dependent on seasonal residents and their ability to travel easily.
Work started in the early fall of 2010, after a decades-long dispute between Saratoga County and the state over bridge ownership was settled and federal funding was obtained. The state agreed to take responsibility for building the new bridge, but once done, Saratoga County will own it and be responsible for its maintenance.
During construction, new concrete piers were sunk into the lake bottom and giant cranes swung bridge girders and decking pieces into place. The deck was installed and driving surface paved in recent months.
The new bridge is replacing an 82-year-old bridge that had deteriorated and carried a 15-ton weight limit that has kept loaded logging trucks, garbage trucks and large fire equipment off it. In recent years, the old bridge has been limited to alternating one-way traffic.
The new bridge is immediately south of the old bridge, and looms over it at the centerpoint.
The old bridge was built when the Sacandaga Valley was flooded in 1930 to create the Hudson River flood-control reservoir and since then has been the only physical link between the two halves of Edinburg separated when the lake was created. Town Supervisor Jean Raymond said she sees no reason to rush the opening.
“We’ve waited three years, we can wait a couple of more weeks,” she said.
She expects the opening to be marked by some sort of ceremony that state, county and town officials will attend.
“The bridge guarantees the future of this community for another 50 or 75 years,” Raymond said. “If the bridge were not there, this community would die.”
The new bridge will have a higher clearance than the old bridge, along with wider shoulders and a sidewalk — something the old bridge didn’t have. The intersection of South Shore Road and the bridge ramp is also being realigned to improve safety.
The state’s contract with Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors of Altamont includes removal of the old bridge, which will happen over the next year. Once the deck and steel components are removed, the cement piers will be blasted to rubble to serve as fish habitat at the bottom of the lake.