FORT COVINGTON — A recent state inspection of the bridge at the intersection of county routes 3, 4 and 42 in Fort Covington found the structure is in serious need of an upgrade.
“It is not that it is not safe to go over but in the future it may not be safe to go over,” said Franklin County Highway Superintendent Brad Marsh.
The bridge was red flagged by the state because of crumbling concrete and aging conditions.
To help fix those problems, more than $1 million will be spent over the summer to rehabilitate the bridge.
Marsh said instead of just doing a patch job, the entire bridge will be replaced. “The whole bridge will come out; we will probably close it,” he said.
The bridge was built sometime around 1940 or 1950, and with the harsh winters and cool summers in Northern New York, Marsh said the bridge is starting to show its age.
“It has aged … what happens is it gets fatigued every year and now with the new regulations, we have to set up abutments that are out of the water and out of the river,” said Marsh. “Everyone wants them set back further, so it will be a much longer bridge,”
The total cost of the project is expected to be $1.4 million, with the Highway Department paying 5 percent from its budget — which translates to about $70,000 — and the rest of money coming from the state Department of Transportation and some federal grant funding.
Marsh said that once the county has obtained the needed rights of ways and the funding starts coming in, the project will go out to bid. He said he wants to wait until after school is out for the construction to start.
“So we try and do it when school is out, and it will not be completed by the time school begins, so we will have a detour — but this way we will only lose the school not having a couple of months of not being able to use it,” said Marsh.
The exact length of time the replacement project will need is not yet known, he added.
In addition to fixing the crumbling concrete, Marsh said replacing the bridge will help to make the area safer for other drivers and prevent accidents in the area.
“There will be better visibility, so when someone comes out from one of the side roads there won’t be as many accidents that they usually have on that road,” said Marsh.