After two-and-a-half years of planning, a new bridge opened in the Town of Truxton. And while the 112 foot span may seem remote, our Tamara Lindstrom tells us it's making life a whole lot easier for residents.
TRUXTON, N.Y. -- When the highway department closed the Cheningo Road bridge back in May, it meant residents had to make an eight mile detour.
"You have to tolerate some things to get it done. The previous bridge was built in 1936. It was flagged several times and we're glad to see it go," said Gus Wehbe, Project Manager and Truxton Town Board member.
Officials were happy to get going on the $1.42 million replacement. The bridge had been red tagged and heavy vehicles were prohibited from using it.
"Initially, we just posted the structure for 16 tons, which hampered the delivery of emergency services. The fire tanker trucks could not cross the structure, so it made several minutes difference in the delivery of emergency services," said Donald Chambers, Cortland County Highway Superintendent.
But Thursday brought an end to those concerns with the opening of the brand new bridge.
"I'm sure the farmers and school buses are very excited that it's open," Wehbe said. "They don't have an eight mile detour anymore."
This is just the first of many for Cortland County. Chambers expects to replace about 25 more bridges in the next ten years. And while most projects depend on state and federal funding, he says it's getting harder to come by.
"The state is actually looking at more of maintenance type operations to fund rather than replacements," Chambers said. "However, we have many structures in our inventory that were built in the 1930s and are beyond preservation. We've been preserving them for decades in structures such as the one we just replaced."
The county has just embarked on a ten year capital improvement plan to address structural issues. As for this new bridge, it's expected to last 75 years.
Cortland County was responsible for five percent of the cost of the replacement bridge. The rest was covered by state and federal funds.