North Lake Street bridge will close for about a year

The bridge spanning the CSX Railroad tracks on North Lake Street will be closing this year. It will, however, be closing a little later than discussed at a recent meeting of the Madison County Public Works Committee.

The bridge, located immediately northwest of North Lake Street's intersection with Gladwell Street, was red-flagged by the state Department of Transportation in October, according to Madison County Highway Superintendent Joseph Wisinski.

"The DOT issued red structural flags [on the North Lake Street bridge and another on North Court Street in the town of Lenox] Oct. 31 of last year," Wisinski said. "Technically, we were only supposed to have 60 days to remediate the problems. We were supposed to have it fixed, and we haven't because we have to work within the railroad right-of-way. We can't do that until we have an agreement with the railroad."

That agreement is necessary because the county has to perform the needed repairs from beneath the bridge and within the railroad's right-of-way. The DOT has granted an extension for the county to get that agreement in place with CSX and to coordinate the repair schedule with the railroad.

Wisinski told members of the PWC Feb. 24 that CSX requires a railroad flagger and a special insurance policy before any access to the supportive structures would be allowed.

"They have new requirements now that we have to have protective liability insurance to work within the right-of-way, and the insurance premium is $2,500 per bridge per day," Wisinski said.

And that doesn't include flagger charges, Wisinski said.

"That's about another $2,600 a day, probably," Wisinski said. "They're called flaggers, but they don't actually flag the trains. Being as pricey as it is, I was thinking we should -- since we're being forced to by the state DOT -- close North Lake because it's already scheduled to be replaced. I don't know if it's worth it to pay those fees when we're going to replace the thing, anyway."

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