Stimulus Builds Better Bridge
New Baltimore Road span first in Capital Region to be constructed with federal recovery fundsAuthor: Hilary Hawke
Source: Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
NEW BALTIMORE — State and local officials gathered at the New Baltimore Road Bridge Tuesday for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the first major transportation contract in the Capital Region funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The entire time from bridge closing to replacement and reopening was a little more than three months and Greene County Highway Superintendent Gary Harvey was justifiably proud of the accomplishment.
”We wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible so we didn’t have to extend the detour,” he said.
“It’s an excellent bridge and it should serve the county well,” said Deputy Superintendent Robert Van Valkenburg. “The contractors did a great job and the engineer matched the structure to the site.”
Local and state representatives, DOT officials, contractors and engineers gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the New Baltimore Road Bridge.
Pictured from left: Art Bias, Town Councilman, New Baltimore; Chris Norris, Town Councilman, New Baltimore; Jim Van Slyke, Greene County Legislator, District 5, New Baltimore; Charles Martinez, Greene County Legislator, District 2, Coxsackie; Wayne Speenburgh, Chairman, Greene County Legislature District 2, Coxsackie; James Hitchcock, Greene County Legislator, District 6, Chairman, Highway Committee; Ken Korona, Wilbur Smith Associates; David Louis, Supervisor, Town of New Baltimore; Mary Ivey, Regional Director, Region 1, DOT; Tim Gordon, Assemblyman; Gary R. Harvey, County Highway Superintendent; Robert J. Van Valkenburg, Deputy County Highway Superintendent; Charles Tutunjian, PE, Creighton Manning Engineering; John Saia, Wilbur Smith Engineering; Stan Wase, Engineering Division, Greene County Highway Department; Kevin Butler, Project manager, Bette & Cringe. Photo by Hilary Hawke
The span was designed by Creighton Manning Engineering of Albany and Bette & Cring of Latham oversaw construction of the $1.1 million bridge replacement project while Wilbur Smith Associates of Latham was responsible for inspection.
The bridge is a unique precast reinforced concrete design with two separate arches each of which has two sections.
The beauty of the technology is that while contractors were demolishing the old bridge and preparing the site, LHV of Kingston was manufacturing the arches.
With no lag time between steps, as soon as the site was ready the parts were installed and the bridge was completed in one construction season, from May through December.
According to Engineer Charles Tutunjian, when the county hired Creighton
Manning to come up with the design, they settled on the precast technology to save production time and speed up the work.
Legislator Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie, pointed out that the project was one of the few that fell into the “shovel ready” category required for stimulus funding.
“We were ready with the engineering and the design,” he said. “It was just a matter of bringing in the construction crew.”
Harvey said that by qualifying under ARRA, Greene County saved anywhere
from $50,000 to $100,000 as the federal government picked up the 5 percent
of the funds that would have normally come from the county.
“It’s a great-looking bridge,” Harvey said. “It’s almost a throwback to the old
stone arch bridges instead of the typical modern steel and concrete ones.”
The new bridge is also higher, wider and longer than the original.
“It’s another great job by the Greene County Highway Department,” said Legislator James Hitchcock, R-Maplecrest. “The bridge is aesthetically pleasing, longer lasting and has a gorgeous design. It’s a big improvement over the old one.”
The bridge spans New Baltimore Road, the most direct route to the New Baltimore Farmers Market for shoppers driving in from the north.
“Having the bridge closed made it extra tough for the local farmer’s market this year,” said Councilman Chris Norris. “I’m glad to see it’s finished.”
Councilman Art Byas said he was pleased it would be open for the holiday season.
“It’s a win-win for New Baltimore and Greene County,” he said.
“The bridge is wider, safer and much more level,” Legislator Jim Van Slyke, D-New Baltimore, said. “The old bridge was always icy and slippery in the winter and the New Baltimore Highway Department put in a lot of maintenance time.”
Senator James Seward, R-Oneonta, said that while he has mixed feelings about many of Washington’s spending projects, this one was a success.
“It meets local needs, improves the infrastructure and has many plusses for the local economy,” he said.
Mary Ivey, director of DOT Region 1, said she was proud the bridge was the first stimulus project completed in the entire eight-county region.
Assemblyman Tim Gordon, I-Bethlehem, who represents New Baltimore, agreed, saying, “It’s great news for the thousands of local motorists who rely on the bridge regularly. The old one was in serious need of repair.”
New Baltimore Town Supervisor David Louis said he was sure local residents were thrilled the bridge had reopened so quickly and reiterated the project had been a good use of federal stimulus money.