Construction of the new Mara Kill span on Route 44/55 in Gardiner is now complete. That’s good news for Gardiner residents, who had grown weary of having to take the long way around after both lanes of Route 44/55 were closed in early May. Traffic resumed on August 3 with a single lane open during work hours. Paving that completes the project should be done by the time this edition of New Paltz Times hits the newsstand. The original 25-foot concrete span carrying Route 44/55 over the Mara Kill was replaced with a new 59-foot span, slightly raised and banked for better drainage. It has a structural steel and reinforced concrete deck with integral abutments. Construction took as long as it did because of the curing time necessary for concrete. Both lanes were closed while the work was done to speed up the process and to create a sturdier new bridge. The span is located approximately two miles south of the intersection with Route 299 and approximately half a mile north of the C.R. 7 intersection, adjacent to the Millbrook Farm driveway. It is one of seven spans in Ulster County that New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) identified as being “susceptible to scour and flooding” during storm events. Bridge scour — sediment and rocks washed against bridge abutments or piers by swiftly moving water — compromises the integrity of the structure. Nationwide, bridge scour is one of the three main causes of bridge failure, the others being collision and overloading. As many as 60 percent of all bridge failures have been traced to scour and other hydraulic-related causes. The other bridges in Ulster County scheduled to be replaced by year’s end are on Route 42 and Route 28 in Shandaken, Route 212 in Woodstock, Route 52 in Shawangunk, Route 213 in High Falls and Route 55 in Wawarsing. The work is paid for by federal disaster relief funding.