Bridges are Part of Governor’s Program to Replace Scour-Critical and Flood Prone Bridges
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that work will begin this week on a $15.6 million project to replace seven bridges carrying Route 73 in the Town of Keene, Essex County. The bridges are among the first under contract as part of New York State’s Scour Critical/Flood Prone Bridge Program. The Governor has requested funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen 105 bridges – the seven being announced today are among the initial 80 that have been approved by FEMA thus far.
“Replacing these bridges is another way that we are building back stronger in the wake of severe weather,” Governor Cuomo said. “By moving forward with these replacements, we are strengthening critical infrastructure in the region and better preparing our communities for extreme storms in the future. This project will ensure that one of Essex County’s major transportation arteries can remain safe and passable, and I look forward to seeing the work completed in the months ahead.”
The project will improve safety by replacing the bridges, including adding steel and concrete pile foundations, and increasing waterway openings to improve each structure’s resiliency to severe weather events and harden the infrastructure for the future. Work will also reduce the likelihood of flooding on the bridges and the adjoining roadway.
The Scour Critical/Flood Prone Bridge Program will protect and strengthen critical infrastructure routes across New York State, assuring transportation access in emergencies and enhancing mobility for continued economic growth.
FEMA has approved construction funding for 80 bridges totaling $278.4 million. Funding approval for the remaining 25 bridges is anticipated this spring.
The seven bridges included in the Keene project are:
- Route 73 bridge over Beede Brook, near St. Huberts
- Route 73 bridge over Beede Brook, near St. Huberts
- Route 73 bridge over the East Branch of the Ausable River, near St. Huberts
- Route 73 bridge over Johns Brook in Keene Valley
- Route 73 bridge over Johns Brook Overflow in Keene Valley
- Route 73 bridge over the East Branch of the Ausable River, near Marcy Field
- Route 73 bridge over Cascade Lake Outlet, west of Keene
Work will begins this week with the installation of poles for temporary traffic signals, which will be used to control traffic on the structures during construction. The bridges will be replaced during this year and in 2016. During construction, traffic over each bridge will be reduced to one single alternating lane controlled by signals. The Department of Transportation has worked with local leaders to enable adjustments to signal timing to allow for greater traffic flow in one direction or another as needed.
Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors of Glenmont, Albany County, will perform the work.
The purpose of New York’s $518 million scour critical/flood prone bridge program is to upgrade and enhance the resiliency of 105 bridges to ensure they are protected from future threats. The bridges were identified by the State Department of Transportation as the most at-risk for repeated flooding with a focus on structures in the Capital District, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions.
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership in hardening these seven bridges and addressing critical infrastructure needs in the Town of Keene, which was hard hit by Hurricane Irene. The Department of Transportation has been fortunate to work with great local partners in preparing to work on these bridges, and we look forward to continuing to work with town leaders and businesses as this project gets under way.”
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said, “It’s essential to the economic development and safety of North Country families that we have strong roads and bridges and that we are prepared in the event of a natural disaster. Replacing these bridges in Keene is critical for our North Country infrastructure, and I commend Governor Cuomo for making this a priority.”
Senator Betty Little said, "Our North Country communities need safe and accessible bridges to continue our strong economic growth. These bridge replacements come at the right time and I applaud Governor Cuomo for once again fighting for the needs of our communities."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said "The tremendous storm events of recent years have driven home both the importance of infrastructure and the devastation flood prone bridges can have on the safety and economy of our community. I'm pleased to work with the Governor to meet the needs of our community and I applaud his continued commitment to the North Country. "
Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said, “This critical infrastructure need serves not only residents and businesses but the countless tourists that visit our region every day. I applaud Governor Cuomo for once again investing in our community, in our future and keeping our communities safe by replacing these flood prone bridges.”
Town of Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said, “Replacing these bridges are vital to our region, our residents and our small businesses that depend on this critical infrastructure need. I would like to thank the Governor for pushing for this federal funding and making the replacement of these seven bridges a priority for the safety and economic growth of our community.”
In June 2013, Governor Cuomo announced a call for projects to be funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to assist local governments and non-profit organizations in rebuilding stronger, more sustainable communities. Authorized by FEMA, the program aims to increase the State’s resiliency, reduce hardship and mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters.
The Scour Critical/Flood Prone Bridge Program is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between the State's Department of Transportation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. It puts New York State at the cutting edge of innovative flood recovery and mitigation activities.
Bridge scour erodes and carries away foundation materials, such as sand and rocks, from around and beneath bridge abutments, piers, foundations and embankments. Upgrading these bridges will ensure access to emergency services during and after flood events, as well as reduce the risk of flooding where bridge openings cause rivers and streams to back up.
All of the bridges included in this program were built to the codes and standards of their time and remain safe and open for everyday traffic. Due to a variety of severe weather events and the increasing frequency of major storms and floods, however, they are vulnerable to scour or flooding caused by the intensity and velocity of water from extreme natural events.
Completion of the program will afford residents of communities across the State continued access to critical lifesaving services in the event of an emergency. Additionally, strengthening bridges will reduce the potential for highway travel delays and detours during heavy rains and floods.
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.
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