HOPKINTON — Structural work on the Jones Road Bridge spanning the St. Regis River in Hopkinton is scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks, according to St. Lawrence County Highway Superintendent Donald R. Chambers.
Mr. Chambers said the bridge was flagged last fall by the state Department of Transportation, which cited serious structural deficiencies, causing the bridge to be closed to vehicular traffic.
At that time, however, a temporary bridge for snowmobiles was installed over the existing structure, which Mr. Chambers said is the main source of bridge traffic during the winter.
“This road is seasonal for vehicular traffic, but in winter it’s mainly for snowmobiles,” he said.
Even when it was open to vehicles, the bridge had a carrying capacity of three tons, which Mr. Chambers said didn’t allow for any emergency service vehicles or school buses to cross.
The repairs, he said, are being done by J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp. out of Potsdam.
Once repaired there will be no weight restriction on the bridge.
“It should be finished hopefully by the end of the year, if not sooner,” Mr. Chambers said.
“It depends on the weather, but this isn’t the most conducive time of year for construction. Over the next several weeks, however, we hope to have it open.”
The bridge is historic, dating back to 1902, Mr. Chambers said, and its refurbishment will feature some of the same steel from more than a century ago.
“There were two smaller truss bridges at that current location going back historically, and they were considered historic structures, so the state Historic Preservation Office requested we reuse the heavy-duty trusses from 1904.”
The new structure, he said, will result in an interesting blend of historic steel and composite-type decking.
“We are marrying new technology with an old structure to increase its load-carrying capacity while keeping the historic nature of the structure intact.”
“The trusses from 1904 were originally used in the New Street Bridge in Edwards, so when we removed that structure and replaced it with a new one, one of the caveats of getting funding is the trusses would be rehabilitated and used in a new location, so that’s what we’re doing,” Mr. Chambers said.
A truss, he said, is the lattice or steel-bracing you see with a top chord and bottom chord and diagonal bracing on a bridge.
“We’ve had to replace various components on them that were deteriorated to effectuate repairs, but the majority of steel is from 1904,” he said.