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Sheldon Road bridge in Skaneateles in need of repair

A bridge on Sheldon Road in the town of Skaneateles has been yellow flagged by the state, meaning it's time to make some serious repairs to the structure.

According to highway department supervisor Jim Card, he spent approximately two days searching for information on repairing the bridge and how much it would cost the town.

To repair the bridge, the cost is estimated to be between $45,000 and $60,000. To replace the entire structure, it would cost between $65,000 and $100,000.

Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding, or CHIPS for short, which is used for making repairs to highways and bridges is currently on Gov. David Paterson's chopping block and Card said with the possibility of a major funding cut the town may lose all those funds.

"I don't think we should be foolish and be reliant on it," said councilwoman Ellen Kulik.

Even without any CHIPS money, Card said the bridge has to be a priority over other road projects.

Currently a single lane bridge, Card said he would recommend doing a total replacement rather than a simple repair job. He also said turning the bridge into a two-lane structure would be as cost effective and replacing the bridge with another single lane structure.

Before tackling the job in the spring, though, Card requested a lowered weight limit for traffic driving over the bridge as a safety precaution. There traditionally has not been a weight limit for the structure, but with its current condition, Card asked that tonnage be restricted to five-ton vehicles or less.

"After repairs, it will go back," he said.

A public hearing on the temporary weight restriction will be held at 8 a.m. Friday Oct. 31 at the town hall on Jordan Street.

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