Lysander bridge repair poses safety problems

— Cold Spring residents will have limited access to home once work begins on the Route 370 bridge over the Seneca River.

The current bridge is in need of repair, specifically a new bridge deck as pieces of concrete from the current deck have been falling off the bottom of the bridge into the river. Two plans have been proposed by the New York State Department of Transportation once the existing deck is demolished: close the bridge for 10 to 12 weeks as a new deck is poured on site (June 2013); or close for four to six weeks as new deck sections are brought in from a different site (September 2013).

While there is no question that the bridge must be fixed, there is concern about how to proceed. Both of the DOT’s plans require a significant period of bridge closure. According to Lysander Councilor Art Levy, this isn’t just a matter of inconvenience for the 14,000 vehicles that use the bridge each day. It is also one of public safety as it will affect response times for both fire departments and ambulances as they will have to travel either through Baldwinsville or Clay to reach the peninsula.

“There should be a unified effort on this issue,” Levy said suggesting the town should lead an effort to communicate concerns from all agencies including fire departments and emergency medical services.

During the June 25 Lysander Board Meeting, Lysander Highway Superintendent Eugene Dinsmoor suggested an alternative to closing the bridge. He said the DOT should consider closing the bridge at night when there is less traffic. This could be done by creating a one lane bridge while the other lane is under construction, a process the Thruway has used in the past. Then, at night, the bridge could close to allow construction. Dinsmoor said the DOT was concerned with this alternative as area residents would be disturbed by the construction noise at night. As a resident of the community immediately northwest of the bridge, however, Dinsmoor said he would rather the noise than the inconvenience.

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