Bridge projects receive approval

The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators’ Finance Committee on Monday approved construction contracts for two bridge projects, including rehabilitation for the County Route 27 bridge in Degrasse, pictured here Tuesday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — With agreements approved and contracts awarded, two St. Lawrence County bridges are ready to be rehabbed this year.

The county Board of Legislators’ Finance Committee on Monday night unanimously passed three resolutions related to planned work for the County Route 27 bridge in Russell and the Island Branch Road bridge in Fowler.

The two plans fall under the county’s ongoing Bridge Preservation Project, and each moved into the final design and construction phases with approval from the state Department of Transportation late this winter, County Highway Superintendent Donald R. Chambers said.

Located just south of Tooley Pond Road in the Russell hamlet of Degrasse, the County Route 27 bridge spans the Grasse River, and the Island Branch Road bridge spans the Island Branch of the Oswegatchie River at the River Road intersection.

The resolutions collectively authorize board Chair William J. Sheridan to sign off on DOT agreements, execute payment and award contracts for construction and site inspection. The total project cost is covered by federal and state aid and a local share, set at 5% of the construction contract, which amounts to less than $65,000.

The construction contract for both bridges was awarded to Slate Hill Constructors, of Warners, for roughly $1.29 million. The contract for construction inspection was awarded to Delta Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors for an inspection fee of up to $169,000.

The resolutions will again be presented to lawmakers for passage during the full board meeting on Monday.

The Finance Committee also passed a resolution authorizing Mr. Sheridan to sign for a BRIDGE NY funding application.

In January, the state announced the availability of a total $200 million for municipal rehabilitation and replacement of bridges and culverts. This year’s round of BRIDGE NY funding augments $500 million awarded to 143 local governments for 298 projects in 2016, according to the governor’s office.

In reviewing the county’s some 300 bridges with DOT planners, Mr. Chambers said, three were determined to be the most viable candidates for BRIDGE NY, which unlike other state and federal highway aid, is a competitive funding opportunity. The County Route 35 bridge over Trout Brook in Potsdam, the Lazy River Road bridge over the Grasse River in Russell, and the County Route 27 bridge over the Oswegatchie River in Fine were approved to be included in the application.

Mr. Chambers said county highway and planning staff are preparing the application, due in June.

Several other county bridge projects, at varying phases, are in the works. They include the Jones Road bridges in Parishville, Halfway House Road bridge in Waddington, Skate Creek bridge in Fine, Lacomb Road bridge in Norfolk, South Shore bridge in Fine, Browns Bridge in Pierrepont and Northumberland Street bridge in Morristown.

The state Comptroller’s Office in 2016 estimated $27.4 billion was needed to repair New York’s local bridges, in addition to $74.5 billion for restoration of highway bridges. Of the state’s more than 17,400 bridges, local governments own and are responsible for maintaining more than half, about 8,800. More than 1,000 of those local bridges were considered “structurally deficient” as of 2017, according to the comptroller.

Of the state’s 62 counties, St. Lawrence County ranked sixth for the highest number of structurally deficient bridges, with 35 recorded that year.

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