County: Selkirk bridge safe to travel

"When we find a red flag condition, we take immediate action," Breen said.

State Comptroller Thomas Dinapolli isn't so sure, though. A recent report from his office found that, in a targeted sample group that did not include the Capital District, defects were not addressed in the required seven-week timespan in 33.8 percent of the red flag cases.

The DOT has taken issue with the report, saying it is misleading and could cause undue concern for the public. Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said delays in department's reporting system resulted in the findings, not work done in the field.

"What we don't always do, and what we should be doing, is documenting every step," Breen said.

She went on to say the department is moving to overhaul its reporting system.

In an August 2009 report, Dinapolli's office estimated that New York's long-range local infrastructure needs planning was under budgeted by as much as $80 billion. In the same report, it was stated that a third of bridges operated by local governments were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and that the figure was expected to increase sharply in the near future.

The Route 55 bridge has never received a red flag, but just around the corner on Route 53, the Jericho Road bridge was closed in the summer of 2009 due to safety concerns. It had a condition rating of 3.37. It has received 12 yellow and red flags over its nearly 90-year lifespan.

The county is planning to demolish the bridge at an estimated cost of about $1 million instead of the far more costly options of repairing or replacing it. The county has suggested affected motorists detour along Route 9W or Route 32.

"We're in the process of obtaining funding and designing for the removal of the bridge," Franchini said.

As for the Route 55 culvert pipes, $70,000 is to be spent in 2010 for engineering new pipes and they are slated to be installed next year at a cost of $470,000.


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