Sixteen months after former State Senator John Bonacic announced that the Town of Gardiner would receive a State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM) grant of $100,000 for improvements to the Forest Glen Bridge on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, the funding — appropriated during passage of the 2017/18 state budget — has finally been released by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. The Gardiner Town Board voted at its March 12 meeting to accept a proposal from engineering consultant Tom Harvey to design plans and specifications for the project at a cost of $9,500.
Harvey’s Poughkeepsie-based firm, Morris Associates, was acquired in August 2018 by a larger, Rochester-based company, Clark Patterson Lee (CPL). However, said Town Supervisor Marybeth Majestic, Harvey was the obvious choice to head up this project: “They’ve been inspecting this bridge for many, many years and have a lot of background on it.”
Following the design phase, construction work on the bridge is estimated to cost $79,000, councilman David Dukler told the Town Board. Another $8,000 of the grant will be applied to safety measures to protect cyclists at the point where the rail trail crosses Old Ford Road, where poor visibility creates a high potential for bicycle/automobile collisions. Majestic said that the modifications would probably take the form of gates on either side of road, forcing cyclists to slow down before they cross.
The work needed on the 1910 deck plate girder pedestrian overpass that carries the rail trail over Forest Glen Road consists primarily of redecking. Rotted wooden decking, old railroad ties and fencing will be removed and replaced with more durable concrete decking and new safety railings. Trees that are pushing against the bridge abutments will be removed and trail erosion nearby the bridge repaired.
Majestic expressed confidence that the long-awaited repair work could finally be completed this year. “I hope to put the construction out to bid this summer, and have it done by fall,” she said.