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Clark Street bridge reopens to traffic

Cazenovia Village DPW workers Dave Cox, left, and Sam Usborne stand beside Tim Mahoney, Greg Stowell, Bill Carr and John Dunkle on the newly re-opened Clark Street bridge, May 1.

Cazenovia Village DPW workers Dave Cox, left, and Sam Usborne stand beside Tim Mahoney, Greg Stowell, Bill Carr and John Dunkle on the newly re-opened Clark Street bridge, May 1. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— Three-hundred and sixty-two days after the Clark Street bridge was deemed unsafe and closed by the New York State Department of Transportation, it was reopened for public use.

Originally estimated to remain closed for anywhere from five to 10 years, local officials immediately began examining ways to reopen the bridge when it was red-flagged and closed on May 2, 2011. After almost a year of causing frustration for residents, businesses and school bus drivers, Village of Cazenovia Public Works Administrator Bill Carr announced the bridge was open to all traffic on Friday, April 27.

“I’m delighted to see the bridge re-opened on schedule. Restoring this artery is very important for the safety of the adjacent neighborhoods and especially the students attending nearby Burton Street School,” said Cazenovia Village Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “It’s refreshing to see so many entities work together effectively for the public good. From Mr. Magee in the Assembly to the town, county, school district and village, this was a great team effort. Tim Mahoney, Bill Carr and John Dunkle all worked tirelessly to procure the best possible bridge on-time and on-budget for our residents and taxpayers.”

When the Clark Street bridge was first shut down last year, Madison County Highway Department administrators lamented that funding for repairs was unavailable. The closure created inconvenient detours for truck traffic from National Grid and Continental Cordage, bus and pedestrian traffic to Burton Street Elementary School as well as the daily commutes for nearby homeowners.

During the past year, local officials from the village, town, county and state collaborated to find a possible solution to the seemingly insurmountable dilemma.

On Nov. 2, New York State Assemblyman Bill Magee announced he had obtained $150,000 in capital funding, and village trustees voted to reassume ownership of the bridge from the county during a village board meeting on Nov. 7.

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