DOT plans ‘unprecedented’ fixes to canal bridges

Photo by Tom Rivers: The canal bridge on Bennetts Corners Road in the Town of Murray is one of seven on schedule for improvements in the next two years. The bridge has had the weight limit reduced to 4 tons.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 November 2016 at 6:39 pm

For several years Orleans County officials have been pressing the state Department of Transportation to upgrade bridges over the Erie Canal. Many of those bridges are deteriorating and have had their weight limits significantly reduced.

That limit means fire trucks, school buses, farm equipment and other larger vehicles can’t use some of the bridges and have to take longer routes to reach destinations in Orleans County.

The DOT is planning an “unprecedented” push to bolster 17 canal bridges in the region, including seven in Orleans County, DOT Regional Director Kevin Bush announced at a meeting on Monday about the Lake Ontario State Parkway, seen as another neglected part of the state’s infrastructure in Orleans County.

Bush said the state is planning $14 million in paving and improvements to the Parkway starting at Route 237 in Kendall and heading east into Monroe County.

The DOT’s capital plan for the region also includes $13 million for canal bridges in Orleans in 2017-18. Those bridges are about 100 years old.

The ones identified for improvements include Bates Road in Ridgeway, Bennetts Corners in Murray, Densmore Road in Gaines, Gaines Basin Road in Albion, Marshall Road in Ridgeway, Telegraph Road in Murray and Transit Road in Albion.

The DOT also plans major rehab work to the Main Street lift bridge in Albion as well as the lift bridge in Brockport. The work on those two lift bridges is pegged at $7.8 million in 2018-19.

There are 26 canal bridges in Orleans County and 12 have been declared “functionally obsolete.” Another six are considered “structurally deficient” by the state Department of Transportation. Two are closed – Brown Street in Albion and Hindsburg Road in Murray. The Knowlesville lift bridge is limited to one lane and 6 tons.

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