The state Canal Corp. is exploring alternate ways to pipe water to Amsterdam’s new pedestrian bridge in response to concerns over the bridge’s maintenance once it’s built.
Amsterdam’s Common Council is mulling approval of a draft maintenance agreement for the $16.5 million pedestrian bridge expected to be finished in 2015.
Fourth Ward Alderman David J. Dybas put on the brakes when he started reading through the standard agreement and learned the city’s maintenance responsibilities would include a 1.5-inch water line beneath the bridge.
The pedestrian bridge, approved by the state’s voters in a 2005 Transportation Bond Act, will connect the city’s South Side with the extended Riverlink Park just west of the current state Route 30 bridge over the Mohawk River.
The curvy span will feature decorative landscaping and lighting. Future plans include tying it into the city’s downtown.
Once complete, a maintenance agreement will govern who is responsible for what, and the details of that agreement sparked discussion and questions, Dybas said.
According to responses provided to those questions, the Canal Corp. or its successor will own the bridge once it’s complete.
That ownership will also include long-term maintenance responsibilities on the part of the Canal Corp. including maintaining the bridge’s structural deck and repairing or replacing it as necessary.
The state’s responsibility would also include the girders supporting the deck and other structural components like piers and abutments supporting the structures.
Routine maintenance will be the responsibility of the city of Amsterdam.
This includes maintaining the concrete overlay surface of the bridge, curbs, concrete walls, railings and benches in addition to debris, snow and ice removal.
An early draft of the agreement mentioned a “water main” planned for the structure to provide a way to water landscaping, and it wasn’t until the agreement’s details were questioned when the city learned the water line was planned for beneath the bridge itself.
The city doesn’t have the equipment needed to repair a water line underneath a bridge over the Mohawk River.
“The last time there was a water line that broke on the current bridge over the river, they had a special barge in place to do some of the work there,” Dybas said.
Further details that rankled him include the need for a special permit, once the bridge is built, in order to have a function on top of it.
He said he’s not trying to stymie the bridge construction, just seeking details. “I take my oath of office seriously. It’s a contract.”
Canal Corp. spokesman Shane Mahar, in an email Thursday, said it’s not yet clear where the water line and other utilities will be affixed.
“We are continuing to discuss the placement of the water line and other utilities with the city,” he said.
Amsterdam Mayor Anne Thane said in an email Thursday she doesn’t expect the maintenance agreement to impact the project.
“This is an enormously important project for the city of Amsterdam and the state of New York. The economic and social benefits will impact our region for generations,” she said.
“We are certain that the brief discussions we are having regarding the maintenance agreement will not hinder progress. We look forward to seeing construction start in the near future and to walking the length of the bridge in 2015,” Thane said.
The Thruway Authority/Canal Corp. is reviewing advanced design plans and final plans for the new bridge are expected to be finished in May. Bids will be sought later this year, and the construction itself is estimated at two years.