County celebrates replacement of another bridge
Orleans plans to replace more bridges and culverts in 2016
BARRE – A bridge near the muck was torn out in August and a new precast box culvert was put in its place. The new bridge opened last week, and county officials and contractors celebrated the conclusion of the project with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday.
That wraps up the infrastructure work in a busy 2015 in Orleans County. The county also replaced a bridge from 1934 over Beardsley Creek on Waterport-Carlton Road in Carlton, and two culverts on Knowlesville Road in Ridgeway over the Oak Orchard Creek.
(The county also put a new roof on the Public Safety Building, and added two new pole barns for the Highway Department on West Academy Street.)
Orleans has more projects in the works in 2016 and ’17. Next year it will replace a bridge from 1959 in Kendall on Carton Road over Sandy Creek, and a bridge from 1936 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on East Scott Road. It will also replace two culverts on Platten Road in Yates, just east of the Village of Lyndonville.
The plan for 2017 includes bridges from 1928 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on Culvert Road, and a bridge from 1956 in Kendall over Sandy Creek on Norway Road. The county will also replace two culverts on South Holley Road in Clarendon.
The infrastructure work is part of an $8 million bond taken out last year to address bridges that had badly deteriorated. The federal and state governments would normally help pay for the projects, but those dollars have been hard to come by in recent years for Orleans County.
County officials worried the bridges would be “red flagged” by the state Department of Transportation with weight reductions. That would make travel more difficult, especially for the farm equipment, school buses and plow trucks.
The DOT considered 49 of the 131 bridges in the county to be rated deficient, as of Aug. 31, 2015. The DOT rates bridges on a score of 3.00 to 7.00. Anything less than a 5.00 is considered deficient.
The county will replace six bridges from 2015 to 2017, doing two each year. That should bring the number of deficient bridges down from 49 to 43.
The two bridges replaced this year had very low ratings. The bridge over Beardsley Creek in Carlton was rated a 3.80, and the bridge over Manning Muckland Creek in Barre was rated a 3.85.
There has been a benefit to tackling the projects without state and federal help: far less cost and red tape. County officials estimate the projects are about one third cheaper than through the federal programs.
Those reduced expenses should allow the county to replace at least one more culvert or bridge as part of the infrastructure efforts.
“We can do it a lot cheaper,” said Jerry Gray, the county highway superintendent. “We’ve proved it.”