South Bethlehem span to see replacement

Upcoming meeting will offer opportunity for public comment

The public will have the chance to chime in on Albany County's plans to replace an aging bridge over the Coeymans Creek in South Bethlehem.

The 1963 Pictuay Road Bridge is on the county's list of deficient bridges and is scheduled for replacement. It's located just north of the town line between Bethlehem and Coeymans.

The bridge that's there now is obsolete, said William Anslow, civil engineer for the county Department of Public Works. "Generally, 50 years out of a bridge built at that time is really outliving its life."

The county is studying two options for the new bridge design. Both would actually raise the level of the bridge's freeboard, or height above the water. At times of high water the river can nearly reach the bridge, said Anslow, and the county would like to see some extra room there. The problem is that raising the bridge requires work on the road leading up to it, adding to the replacement cost.

One option would involve raising the bridge by 1.7 feet and cost and estimated $1.7 million. The second scenario would raise it 1.3 feet at a $1.4 million cost.

"We're probably leaning toward option two at this point, but we're not going to decide that until we hear from the public," Anslow said.

The replacement would be funded through a federal aid project, with 80 percent being paid by federal funds, 15 percent by the state and the county covering the remaining percent.

The replacement would likely occur in 2012, with construction starting in the spring and ending in the fall. During construction traffic normally using the bridge would have to detour. Pictuay Road connects routes 396 and 9W and is about 1.5 miles long.

"I don't think that this road generates a real high volume of traffic," Anslow said.

The public will have a chance to hear a presentation on the project from county planners and to provide comment at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at A.W. Becker Elementary School on Route 9W.

Anyone unable to attend the meeting may submit comments to William Anslow, Albany County DPW, 449 New Salem Road, Voorheesville 12186. Comments will be accepted through March 11.""

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