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Tearing down the Monster
By JOEL CUTHBERT
OBSERVER Photo by Tim Latshaw
This bridge in Irving may be for replaced next year.
10/21/2007 - OBSERVER Staff Writer
IVING — In the aftermath of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August, and the subsequent rush to identify structurally deficient bridges throughout New York state, one seemed to be conspicuously absent from lists.
Or was it simply at the top of the list for the New York State Department of Transportation?
Recently, the New York State Department of Transportation indicated plans to replace the green bridge located on New York Route 5 and U.S. Route 20 over the Cattaraugus Creek. The bridge, which spans Chautauqua and Erie county lines, is scheduled for replacement in 2008.
The project will cost an estimated $9.3 million and take approximately two years to complete.
“In early phases [of the project], we considered both rehabilitation and replacement,” Robert W. Rugg, Senior Design Engineer for the NYS Department of Transportation, said. “This project has been around since ‘98. We were looking at rehabilitation or replacement at that point.”
However, after repairs made in 2004 — in which a “strongback” beam was installed to reinforce floor beams — and 2006 due to section loss in the steel, officials opted for replacement.
“By August of 2006, we decided we were definitely going with the replacement option because we were finding accelerated deterioration,” Rugg explained. “Deterioration was such that we felt that replacement was the appropriate thing to do.”
According to Susan Surdej, public information officer at the state Department of Transportation Buffalo regional office, the current truss will be replaced with a modern multi-girder steel structure. The bridge will also have a partially new alignment, shifted to the northwest, in order to allow uninterrupted traffic on the present bridge until the new one is finished.
Project design will be handled by the department of transportation who, following a formal bid process, will oversee eventual construction of the bridge by an independent contractor.
Bid opening is tentatively set for June of 2008, with construction to begin a few months after.
“The lowest qualified bidder would be awarded the contract,” Rugg explained. “Not necessarily just the lowest, but the lowest qualified bidder. We look to make sure that they’re capable of doing the work.”
Further details of the anticipated project will be unveiled to the public at two upcoming informational sessions — followed by open forum public hearings — for Chautauqua and Erie county residents.
Copies of the design plans are currently available for review and copying — during business hours — at the Hanover Town Hall and the Anderson-Lee Library in Silver Creek. Copies are also available at the William Seneca Building, 12837 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081; the Seneca Nation of Indians Public Library, 1490 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081; and at the office of Alan E. Taylor, Regional Director, Department of Transportation, 100 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY 14203.
Informational sessions and public hearings on the project are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Hanover Town Hall in the courtroom, and Thursday, Oct. 25 at the William Seneca Building in the council chambers. Both dates will consist of an informational session from 4-7 p.m., followed by a formal meeting at 7 p.m.
There will be displays and information stations staffed with department representatives, familiar with each aspect of the project, available for questions and discussion of the proposed project. The formal meeting will consist of a presentation and forum for public comments.
“All interested persons will be given the opportunity to express their views concerning the economic and social effects of the design plans,” department representatives stated in a press release, “their impact on the environment and their consistency with the goals and objectives of such planning as has been promulgated by the community.”
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