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County Route 14 bridge now open

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RENSSELAER FALLS – The revamped County Route 14 bridge was opened to traffic Friday after being closed six months.

“I am extremely happy the bridge is open,” said Robert S. Chapin, owner of Chapin’s Country Store, 102 Canton St. “I’ve had three calls since this morning from people asking if it was open.”

The bridge opened at 11 a.m. Friday with an impromptu ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by resident Kyle D. Hartman.

Businesses from both sides of the bridge said they were relieved to see the bridge open once again.

“We hope that the people across the bridge will come back because of the distance,” Mr. Chapin said. “The detour was about seven to 10 miles around. That was a lot for some people. Now that they are only a quarter of mile away, we hope they will come back. I think they will.”

Matthew E. Hart, superintendent of Tioga Construction, Herkimer, which constructed the bridge, said the problems were with the architect, not with the bridge’s construction.

“It went very well overall,” Mr. Hart said. “We worked with the county very well. It’s unfortunate about the sewer line, but that happens on projects as big as this one.”

The project, which began in June, involved demolishing the old truss-style bridge, which leaked and corroded over time, and replacing it with a one-pier, steel structure with a concrete deck.

The bridge was expected to open Nov. 30 but was delayed after a sewer pipe running underneath the bridge burst during a pressure test.

“I am very pleased the bridge is open,” said Connie S. McAllister, village trustee and owner of McAllister Liquors, 213 Rensselaer St. “I’ve had at least four or five customers from across the bridge already tonight. I think they did it in a very timely manner. The fact that it is only two weeks overdue is fantastic.”

Mrs. McAllister said the crew volunteered its forklift to unload the village’s new playground equipment in the town garage.

“They were a very nice crew, and very helpful,” Mrs. McAllister said.

The approximately $3 million project will be 80 percent paid for by federal funds, 15 percent by state funds and 5 percent by St. Lawrence County.

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