Clove Road bridge to reopen Friday?


By Patsy Nicosia

Closed unexpectedly 10 days ago after a state inspection found deteriorating steel, the Clove Road bridge in Hyndsville will reopen—with repairs—likely Friday.
Until then, neighbors, who complained that they weren’t notified in advance, are using detours, some of which they worry can’t be accessed by emergency vehicles, fuel and feed trucks, or school buses.
Tom Fagnani, Schoharie County Department of Public Works commissioner, said the bridge has been on the state’s “watch” list for some time and slated for replacement.
A state inspection Monday, October 4 found deteriorating steel, Mr. Fagnani said Friday, and he plans to have the necessary repairs made so the bridge can be reopened this Friday.
The bridge will be posted for the reduced weight of 20 tons, he said, which will still allow school buses to cross it.
The closed Clove Road bridge joins a number of others that need to be replaced, but the timetable’s been slowed by even slower federal aid.
“It all just keeps getting pushed further and further back because of the economy,” Mr. Fagnani said, and it’s not clear how the state priorities which bridges will be repaired or replaced first.
The two bridges on the Warnerville Cutoff are on the calendar to be replaced in 2011; the closed Shady Tree Lane bridge and Howe Caverns Road bridges will follow but Mr. Fagnani said he doesn’t know when.
The High Street bridge in Richmondville—closed—is on the state’s list to be replaced sometime in the next several years; others the state is keeping an eye on include the Schoharie Hill bridge and the Caverns Road bridge by the grist mill,.
Mr. Fagnani said he expects to do the Clove Road bridge repairs in-house, something that will speed up that timetable.
Why so many bridges with problems? In a word: Age.
“We have a lot of old bridges,” Mr. Fagnani said.
“Before, when times were good, the state was replacing a bridge here a year, but that’s stopped. Now everything is taking a lot longer.
“We’re doing the best we can. We just keep trying to put out the fires.”