Main Street bridge could require $700k in repairs

For five years, a repair project to the Main Street bridge has been pushed back as conditions of the sidewalk, curb and joints grow worse.

SALAMANCA — Needed repairs to the Main Street bridge are becoming more necessary and more costly as the city attempts to find alternative means of paying for the proposed project to fix it.

The Common Council discussed the proposed project again at the Board of Public Works meeting Nov. 11, where Dan Kruez, project manager for Urban Engineers, updated the council on the project’s status and preliminary costs.

“It’s about $700,000 for the construction work,” he said. “That’s based on the state’s inspection report, which doesn’t have all the information.”

Kruez recommended Urban Engineers do their own more thorough inspection to come up with a more detailed list of what needs to be done and make a more accurate cost estimate.

The project is expected to go out to bid in the spring of 2021.

Kruez said the council first began talking about the bridge repair project five years ago when it was clear conditions of the bridge’s sidewalks, curbing and joints were getting worse. At that time, the city had procured about $200,000 in aid from the state to help with the project.

“We were designing to replace the curb and do some of the sidewalks, and the project was stopped along with all the other Seneca Nation Territory projects for three years,” Kruez explained.

However, over the summer, the state began to proceed with the halted projects in Salamanca on the territory including repaving Routes 219 and 417 through the city, Kruez said.

“We had to go through this re-evaluation process,” he said. “We had to redo all the environmental stuff over the past couple of months.”

One issue with acquiring funding for the project is the bridge being completely owned and maintained by the city since it was rebuilt in 1990, Kruez said.

Mayor Michael Smith cited an agreement between the state and Seneca Nation that the state DOT will maintain all roads and bridges on the Nation’s territories as a possible solution.

“For $700,000, it couldn’t hurt to make a phone call,” he added.

Kruez said the big portion of the project would repair the damaged steel bearings, which would require jacking up the bridge, something that isn’t easy or cheap, especially because there is no access underneath.

“We obtained the specs report that the state did a year ago and reviewed the report,” he said. “Because the joints were bad three years ago when we started, there has been water leaking down on the steel structure and it’s caused some pretty substantial structural damage to the bridge. One girder was rated a 4 out of 10, which is not good.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the city’s ice pond will stay closed this winter due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Yes, it’s outside, yes, you can social distance, until you come inside the warming hut with that one heater bellowing germs,” said Mayor Michael Smith.

“It’s unfortunate for the kids, but we have to think of the safety, and other things aren’t opening because of COVID for winter sports,” said councilwoman Janet Koch (D-Ward 5).

Smith said it takes a lot of time and manpower to prepare the pond if it can be open for only a few days as has been the case in past seasons. Smith noted it was cold enough to open less than 10 times in 2018 and 2019, while councilman Michael Lonto (R-Ward 3) said it was open more than 30 days several years ago.

“It just hasn’t been coming together for us the past few years,” Carpenter said. “We spend a massive amount of time up there just preparing to get the ice ready to open it up.”

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)

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