WATERLOO –– The preliminary design of a new Locust Street bridge shows a structure similar in many ways to the old bridge it will replace.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) Region 3 office in Syracuse presented the LaBella Associates-designed bridge at a public open house Tuesday.
The current concrete bridge over an offshoot of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal that leads to a hydroelectric generating plant on Washington Street was built in 1914 and has been closed for safety reasons since September 2015.
DOT official Gene Cilento said the village was selected to receive a $3 million state grant to either rehabilitate or replace the bridge. A March 2018 inspection of the bridge showed that the structure “is in bad shape, with connecting arches ready to fall and the pier supports not having any compression strength,’’ according to Cilento.
“We first looked at restoring the arches and reusing the piers and abutments, but it was determined that it would not work. Rehabilitation was out and replacement was in,’’ Cilento said.
He said options range from $2.5 to $7 million. The DOT contracted with LaBella Associates to redesign a new bridge.
The 1914 bridge consists of six reinforced concrete arch spans totaling 244 feet in length. It had enough room for a single lane of vehicle traffic and a sidewalk on the north side. There is significant deterioration in the arches and the bridge deck. The concrete in the piers is also weak.
The preliminary design calls for a two-span multi-girder structure. New piers would be built on the island between the two waterways, making the span two different lengths, both still around 243 feet in length.
The new budget would have a 12-foot wide, single-lane vehicle roadway with narrow shoulders and a five-foot wide sidewalk on the north.
Work on the approaches would be minimal and most of the existing structure would be retained, but not used. The arches would be removed.
DOT officials said that due to the coordination needed with the Canal Corporation and the nearby privately-owned hydroelectric plant, the physical location of the bridge to nearby overhead high voltage lines and water control gates still being used, the replacement work will likely last two construction seasons.
Once a final design is approved, the project will be put out to bid. Meanwhile, the state grant will be available to pay for the new bridge. Any cost above that amount will have to come from either the village or state or a combination of both.