MASSENA Construction on the Parker Avenue bridge wont begin for at least two more years, according to state Department of Transportation officials.
Corroded beams on the 53-year-old bridge over the Grasse River forced the closure of two of its four lanes in 2009. The bridge was closed entirely for part of the summer of 2010 after a hole appeared in the deck of the structure.
DOT presented five options for replacing the bridge with a two-lane span to the village board more than a year ago. The total cost of the bridge construction and traffic reconfiguration is $14.1 million to $14.5 million for all five scenarios, DOT officials said previously.
About 80 percent of the project cost would come from federal funds, while the state would pick up the remaining 20 percent. At the time, DOT officials said the bridge project would be highly contingent on Congress passing additional transportation legislation in 2011. In May 2011, DOT officials said they planned to approve design plans last fall, contract plan completion in winter 2012, contract letting in spring 2013, bridge reopening to traffic in fall 2014 and completion in winter 2014.
Now, it will be 2014 or later before construction begins because of a lack of funding, DOT spokesman Michael R. Flick said Monday.
Design work has been limited, Mr. Flick said in an email.
The bridge replacement project will need a fully funded federal transportation bill to move forward, said Scott A. Docteur, director of planning and management for DOT Region 7. The last transportation bill expired several years ago, and Congress has approved nine extensions since then. DOT has received approximately 30 percent less funding from the extensions than the last full-fledged bill, he said.
Were working on it and we want to replace it, but funding is an issue, Mr. Docteur said.
Mayor James F. Hidy said the village had been left in the dark about the delay. He said he was first hearing of it Monday.
Im hearing this through the press. They made no effort at all to let us know whats going on. That itself is disturbing, Mr. Hidy said. Its imperative we get this structure to the front of the line and address this as soon as possible.
Mr. Hidy called the bridge unsightly. If its crumbling on the outside, chances are its not doing too good on the inside, either, he said.
DOT staff has monitored the bridge over the last year, according to engineer and project manager Michael K. McCullouch. Its in a holding pattern, he said. Were watching it, but its still safe.