DOT announces $11 million will rehab 7 canal bridges in Orleans
First bridge to close for work is Bennetts Corners Road, with last of 7 to be complete in 2020
Press Release, NYS Department of Transportation
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas today announced the start of a $10.7 million project that will rehabilitate seven historic Erie Canal bridges in the Orleans County towns of Murray, Albion, Gaines, Ridgeway and the Village of Medina.
The rehabilitation work, to be completed in the next two years, is necessary to raise legal weight limits on the bridges and will provide safe access for residents, local farms and businesses, which are vital to economic activity across Orleans County.
“All New Yorkers know the importance and history of commerce along the Erie Canal, especially in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, which is home to nearly 70 percent of the canal bridges in the state,” Acting Commissioner Karas said. “By investing in this critical infrastructure today, we are helping to preserve that history and maintain the integrity of these bridges for years to come.”
The project has identified for rehabilitation seven single-lane truss bridges constructed between 1909 and 1914. The locations of the bridges over the canal include:
• Bennetts Corners Road, between Route 31 and Gulf Road, in the Town of Murray.
• Telegraph Road, between Route 237 and Groth Road, in the Town of Murray.
• Transit Road, between Route 31 and West Brockville Road, in the Town of Murray.
• Densmore Road, north of Route 31, in the Town of Albion.
• Gaines Basin Road, between Albion Eagle Harbor Road and West Bacon Road, just north of the Albion Correctional Facility, in the Town of Gaines.
• Bates Road, between Telegraph Road and Portage Road, in the Village of Medina.
• Marshall Road, between Route 31 and School Road, in the Town of Ridgeway.
The bridge carrying Bennetts Corners Road over the Erie Canal will be the first of seven to close, beginning on December 3rd, for up to six months. Each bridge will be worked on consecutively through Summer 2020.
The work on these bridges will include installing high-strength galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates, and truss elements. Bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches also will be improved and each bridge will be repainted. The alignments and profiles of the bridges will not change.
“Since being elected in 2014, I have advocated for these long-awaited improvements to our canal bridges, many of which are in my district,” said State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda. “I am pleased to see that many of these bridges are getting much needed improvements. These bridges are vital in ensuring quick and reliable routes for many residents, businesses, and local farms in Orleans County.”
The improvements will require each bridge to be closed to traffic for up to six months at a time, although access to businesses, including public boat launches, will be maintained throughout construction. The approaches to each bridge will be open for local traffic. Work will be done on some of the bridges simultaneously. Pedestrian access to the Erie Canal Trailway also will be maintained throughout construction.
“Safe, reliable and robust infrastructure is the backbone to healthy economic development and one of the many aspects of a flourishing society, and there are few matters more pressing than addressing the insufficient conditions of our area’s bridges,” said State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia. “These seven bridges are not only paramount to our emergency services, daily commuters, agriculture and farm equipment and interstate travelers, but are part of the Erie Canal system’s distinct history. I am pleased to see such a large investment in Orleans County’s infrastructure and look forward to improved travel this spring.”
Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature, said, “The Orleans County Legislature is extremely pleased to see that the New York State DOT is continuing to move ahead with plans to ensure the long-term viability of our transportation system. We have made significant efforts to clarify our concerns and priorities and the State has in turn made an effort to understand and respond to those concerns.”