LITTLE VALLEY – Residents that use the Tannery Street bridge in the Town of New Albion will be happy to know that the project is still making progress, not only in the Cattaraugus County bureaucracy but also in the ranks of the state Department of Transportation.
The project, a full redesign and reconstruction of the existing structure, was supposed to be on the schedule to get under way in March 2016. After some repositioning, re-prioritization and reassessment on the part of county and state officials, it looks more like the project might get going as early as May 2015, according to Cattaraugus County Senior Civil Engineer Bill Fox.
The project at one point had been dropped in its entirety by the DOT in an effort to preserve some of their funding for more immediate projects.
“The new model in which DOT is working places projects like New Albion 35 [the Tannery Street Bridge] in the same category as the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Fox said. “We don’t have the traffic flow. It was seen as less of a priority.”
The county’s civil engineering staff asked DOT officials to take another look at the structure. After giving the bridge a rating of 2.65, a poor rating, DOT officials agreed that it needed to be rebuilt.
“The bridge itself could be closed down and we could reroute people,” Fox said.
“That wasn’t the issue. More so, the issue is in the stream stability of the structure. If that bridge were to fail in that aspect, it would cause all sorts of geological problems.”
The project is slated to cost nearly $2 million, with more than $1.5 million coming from federal coffers, $288,200 from the state and $170,000 from the county.