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Wanakena Footbridge will be removed

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By MARTHA ELLEN

WANAKENA — The town of Fine has awarded a contract to remove the Wanakena Footbridge, which was heavily damaged by an ice jam earlier this year.

Continental Construction, Gouverneur, will remove the bridge for $32,200. The removal will be paid for by a $10,000 grant from the River Valley Redevelopment Agency, $10,000 from the Northern New York Community Fund and donations funneled through the Wanakena Historical Association.

The first step in replacing the bridge is to remove the damaged structure from the river, Town Supervisor Mark C. Hall said. A lot of the removal will be done from the water.

Officials discussed having town crews remove the bridge but decided they did not have the expertise to remove the structure without undue risk, Mr. Hall said.

The town is applying for grants from the state Department of Transportation and through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for funding to replace the bridge.

“We’re just trying every avenue,” Mr. Hall said.

Replacement will not come this year because not only does the money have to be found, but a design must be created and permits granted, Mr. Hall said.

The bridge was wrecked Jan. 13 by an ice jam on the Oswegatchie River. The damage was a blow to the community because the bridge is an icon of the hamlet.

The suspension bridge was built in 1902 by Rich Lumber Co. for workers to cross from their homes to the mills.

A fundraising effort in 1983 went toward replacing rotting wooden planks and towers.

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