CANTON — The first steps to removing the Northumberland Street Bridge over the Morristown Bay were approved Monday night by St. Lawrence County lawmakers.

County Department of Highways Director Donald R. Chambers will hirer Engineering and design firm Barton & Loguidice to do the design of the bridge removal and also for the installation for the water and sewer line that must be put under the bay.

Mr. Chambers said the project will be paid for through the state Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, which was created to meet the needs of New Yorkers living in the eight counties impacted by Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River flooding.

According to the resolution the cost is not to exceed of $182,000 and the county was awarded $2.1 million in REDI project costs for the Northumberland Street Bridge.

The bridge was closed on Sept. 18 after a Sept. 17 report from the state Department of Transportation after state inspectors informed the county Department of Highways that there was severe corrosion of the steel bridge pilings and issued a red structural flag.

A bypass has already been created around the bay, connecting Bay and Main streets.

“This is going to be a permanent removal and the earthen fill that goes out in to the bay, the majority of that will be removed as well,” Mr. Chambers told the Times on Tuesday. “The current structure is hooked into the water and sewer lines, so we’re going to do a directional boring, basically you auger through the soil and you install the pipe as you go, a lot like the tunneling machine they used under the English Channel, laying pipe as it goes, that way will be able to continue the use of the utilities connection on the other side of the bay.”

Mr. Chambers and his office also conducted a State Environmental Quality Review Act, also known as a SEQRA, and Full Environmental Assessment Forms and lawmakers passed a second resolution authorizing the issuance of a negative declarations, which shows no negative environmental impact as a course of the project.

In fact, Mr. Chambers said the work will almost be restoring it to its natural state.

“We looked at this and determined that there will be no great impact on the environment with the removal,” Mr. Chambers said. “And we will be returning it more to a natural state, but due to the requirements on this project there needs to be a coordinated review and this is part of this process.”

He said a coordinated review of the project is being conducted with a multi-agency review board, after which the project will go out to bid.

“In order to get the permit you have to have the design plans nearly completed, he said. “We are going to get started here pretty soon. The schedule is likely to be impacted by COVID-19, but we are still hoping for 2021 construction.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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