When it comes to the new-and-improved Carmine Liberta Bridge in New Paltz, check another item off the list.
Lighting for the bridge’s cantilevered sidewalk will, most likely, be luxrail-style LED handrail lighting, according to the Carmine Liberta Bridge replacement committee. Lighting above the bridge will be minimalistic — not stylistic — and affordable, they added during their June 16 meeting.
That choice sat well with county officials.
“We think that we can do the project within the current budget,” said Ulster County Planning Director Dennis Doyle. Because county bridge crews will do the work, it will mean “an enormous amount of savings to the Ulster County taxpayer,” he added.
Back in February, county officials okay’ed the replacement of the bridge, establishing a tentative $1.8 million to $2.5 million budget. Doyle said he thinks the style selected by the committee — a weathered-steel Cambridge arch bridge — would be “close to the high end” of that budget.
Lighting was one of the last major design issues before the bridge committee. Now, the project returns to Kingston for final design drawings, environmental review and the finalized budget, Doyle said.
For those readers not familiar with them, luxrail lights shine down at pedestrians’ feet, which would minimize light pollution.
For mayor Tim Rogers, the new bridge’s lighting bill was an issue. The hang-up there is who pays ––the village or town? Rogers said that issue must be settled between the two local governments.
New Paltz Times readers and bridge committee members seem to be on the same page. Independently of each other, both have come out in favor of the weathered-steel Cambridge arch bridge.
In our informal online poll, a majority (81 percent) of respondents preferred the Cambridge arch style. Opinions as to surface texture were more evenly split — with 37 percent preferring weathered steel, 35 percent painted steel and 28 percent galvanized steel finish.
But in the end, that’s exactly the conclusion bridge committee members reached as well.
Round about the traffic circle
For some, a traffic circle at Route 299, Water and Huguenot streets makes a lot of sense. But when it comes to the bridge redesign, fans of the 299 roundabout will have to keep waiting.
According to Gail Gallerie — a bridge committee member, who is also seated on the Transportation Implementation Committee (TIC) — the roundabout isn’t a part of the bridge plan, nor is the transportation committee recommending it.
For TIC members, the impending reality of a new Carmine Liberta Bridge is a gift.
“Absolutely the replacement of the bridge was among our priorities,” Gallerie said. “This project is allowing us to achieve something we wanted so much sooner.”
With the ball back in Ulster County’s court, the bridge committee will go on summer recess. They next expect to meet some time in August or September.
Look for an update on the bridge project in a future edition of the New Paltz Times.