New York State’s Department of Transportation is in the process of repairing some bridges throughout the Capital Region, and is on the verge of deciding whether or not to completely remove others. While bridge repair projects are normally appreciated by local officials and residents, the decision to permanently close bridges tends to be met with resistance.
Because a pair of bridge closures may be happening in Fort Edward, officials there have been some of the first to express their concerns. Although the DOT has yet to finalize plans for any removals, feasibility studies are currently being conducted “regarding the possible removal of the East Street bridge and the North River Road bridge in Fort Edward, and the New Swamp Road bridge over in Kingsbury,” DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani told The Post Star.
Reasons for permanent bridge removals include high maintenance costs, low traffic volumes, and alternate bridges located in close proximity that are typically in better condition.
The potential closing of Fort Edward’s East Street Bridge is particularly problematic for locals due to the convenient path that it provides from town to the village. Supervisor Mitchell Suprenant told The Post Star, “It is going to take [the emergency squad and fire department] an extra 10 minutes to get over there if they close the bridge.”
Closing the bridge would not only impact travel and response times from emergency squads, but it could negatively effect business in the Village of Fort Edward. Suprenant told The Post Star that closing the bridge will divert traffic away from the village, into Hudson Falls and Glens Falls, during a time when they are trying to grow and develop business in Fort Edward.
For now, the decision to close the bridge has not yet been finalized. The state wants to hear from all stakeholders and make sure that the majority of the community supports the decision to rehabilitate or remove the bridges in question before putting any plans into action.
Elsewhere, bridges in Warren and Saratoga counties are in the process of being repaired, and a trio of Washington County bridges will see repairs within the next two years.
- Post Star: State looks at bridge closures, Fort Edward officials unhappy