Bids for painting, paving and repairing the long-neglected, rust-encrusted, bumpy (old) Rondout Creek Bridge will be advertised on Sept, 19, officials announced this week.
“This will certainly not be a full-out repair,” said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who has been lobbying the state Department of Transportation to address issues on the 90-year-old Wurts Street bridge for several years. Cost estimates were not available, but DOT had previously estimated the overall bridge project in the $15 million range. DOT previously reported the well-traveled bridge is structurally sound.
Cahill said initial work will entail painting the bridge’s suspension cables and its towers and railings, replacing its roadbed with concrete base and an asphalt surface and repairing rails on the pedestrian walkway. Cahill said there were no immediate plans to deal with the lower portion of the bridge, which is also badly in need of cosmetic repair. New lighting will also be part of the upgrades.
Town of Esopus Supervisor John Coutant said DOT engineers told him they are planning for an early spring project start. The bridge will be shut down for an estimated three months. Traffic will be rerouted to the nearby Judge Loughran Bridge.
Cahill, Coutant and Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo have been working on the project, with Coutant “the pointman” with state DOT.
“We agreed early on that Shayne had his hands full in Kingston, what with sewer collapses and all, and I had more time,” Coutant said. “We copy everything and co-sign all communications. I think it’s been an excellent working partnership.”
Gallo, saying the bridge work has been a long time coming and that he was “very pleased” that it will be at last done, credited Coutant for his stick-to-itiveness. “This would not have been done but for the persistence of Supervisor John Coutant of Esopus,” said Gallo. The mayor added that fixing the pedestrian walkway is part of the repair plan.
Cahill said there have been some discussion about working with the New York Bridge Authority since DOT has no suspension bridges under its jurisdiction. “The bridge authority has a regular crew that does this kind of work,” Cahill said. “It might make sense to get them involved in this project.” A bridge authority spokesman confirmed discussions have taken place but said no decisions have been made.
Coutant said the color of the bridge will remain blue-gray, an “expensive special paint” that expands and contracts with the steel in the bridge.
Cahill noted that DOT recently upgraded a long stretch of Route 9W from the bridge through the hamlet of Port Ewen. Similar work is being completed on Abeel Street which connects to Wurts Street on the Kingston side of the bridge.