On April 3, the Shandaken town board heard a presentation by New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) on the planned replacement of the Route 28 bridge over the Esopus and Birch Creeks, east of the Peekamoose Restaurant in Shandaken. The work is not expected to require rerouting of traffic but will involve construction of a new bridge alongside the existing structure, to be completed by the summer of 2018.
The New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery is funding the design and construction. The program has allotted $518 million to repair or replace a total of 105 bridges statewide, identified as compromised due to scour, the erosion of foundations by fast-flowing water.
The Route 28 bridge, extending from the Big Indian firehouse to the junction with Creekside Drive, will be straighter than the old, curved one. Trees have already been cut down north of the highway to clear space for the new bridge, which will be wider and will have fewer piers, thus increasing the space for floodwaters to pass beneath it. An eight-foot bicycle lane will be included, with four-foot railings for safety.
Construction of the new bridge will begin this spring, with the driving of piles for the foundations. The project manager acknowledged that pile driving will be noisy but will be limited to 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on weekdays. At no point will there be interruption of access to the firehouse, post office, nearby homes, or Big Indian Park. Flagpersons will be needed only for delivery of materials to the building site.
After building of the substructure and superstructure of the bridge, a second phase will begin next spring, when the new bridge will take traffic in one direction, and the old bridge will carry vehicles in the other direction. The turn from Creekside Drive onto Route 28 will be sharper, so several hundred feet of the road will be reconstructed and widened to facilitate the turn. Finally, the new bridge will take over all traffic, and the old structure will be demolished, with completion scheduled for August 2018.