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Upper Delaware Council Updates NY-PA Interstate Bridge Work

During this meeting, the NY-PA Joint Interstate Bridge Commission formalized its partnership through a codified law.

Thu August 25, 2016 - Northeast Edition #17
Construction Equipment Guide

New York will be responsible for the northern five bridges, while Pennsylvania will take the lead on the southern five.
New York will be responsible for the northern five bridges, while Pennsylvania will take the lead on the southern five.

The Upper Delaware Council met in July to discuss the health of its bridges. The panel consists of members from NYS DOT and PennDOT, as they share responsibility for maintaining the spans. Also present at the meeting were representatives from AECOM Technical Services and the National Park Service.

They discussed a timeline for work on the 10 interstate bridges as well as the Roebling Bridge. The schedule has been arranged to prevent overlap of projects requiring detours. The timeline will be reviewed and updated every six months.

During this meeting, the NY-PA Joint Interstate Bridge Commission formalized its partnership through a codified law. New York will be responsible for the northern five bridges, while Pennsylvania will take the lead on the southern five. Expenses will be shared 50/50.

The work schedule for the following bridges is:

Skinners Falls Bridge

The contract for emergency repairs has been let to Leeward Construction, which must meet an August 29, 2016 completion date. The repairs will allow the bridge to re-open with a posted 4-ton (3.6 t) load limit. Boater traffic will be diverted during the repairs, as per the Aid to Navigation Safety Plan required by the National Park Service. Work will include:

• replacing 42 deteriorated stringers

• repairing timber running boards on the deck

• installing an 8.5 ft. (2.6 m) clearance portal (aka “headache” bar) that will prevent oversized vehicles from crossing it

Under no circumstances should any vehicles over 4 tons use the bridge since engineers assert that overweight vehicles are largely responsible for speeding up the bridge's deterioration. Discussions took place about how to enforce the weight restriction besides the headache bar.

A study of purpose and need will take place regarding the long-term fate of the 1901 bridge.

Numerous complaints were fielded about the circular location of the New York side signage and lack of forewarning about the bridge's closure. PennDOT has a detour coordinator on staff but that would pertain to the Pennsylvania side. Putting up a detour informational sign in Cochecton was suggested.

Cochecton-Damascus Bridge

Emergency repairs will start in late July or early August 2016, with one-lane traffic allowed, pending a 2019 capital project to replace the deck and do structural repairs.

Roebling Bridge

This 2016-2017 National Park Service project in conjunction with the Federal Highways Administration will require periodic full closures over a two to three week period, though the bridge will be open on evenings and weekends. The detour route will be over the Barryville-Shohola Bridge.

In-river work includes repair of the icebreakers. The road work portion will start after Labor Day. Work includes:

• replacing eight expansion joints

• re-sealing and repairing cracks on the deck

• repaving the approach roads in Lackawaxen and Minisink Ford

The concrete deck was most recently sealed around 10 years ago.

Pond Eddy Bridge

A newspaper notice announcing a “July 2016” start with alternating boater diversions for this $17 million bridge replacement was questioned.

Discussion ensued about the justification for replacing this bridge given its limited use. DOT officials said that cost isn't supposed to factor into the decision, only the purpose and need.

Every other alternative was reviewed to provide the required access to Pond Eddy, Pa., including property buy-outs and building a road through the State Gamelands at an estimated $40 million. It would be considered an environmental injustice to make homeowners sell their properties if they're not all willing to leave.

The bridge's replacement has been pending since 1978.

Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge

This $9.6 million rehabilitation project is 90 percent toward advancing final design plans.

Bids will be advertised in March 2017, opened in May, construction will occur over two seasons, and is slated to end in fall 2018.

There have been no changes to the overall design or logistics. Work will include:

• installation of a new concrete-filled grid deck and crash-tested railings

• replacement of deteriorated stringers and floor beams

• repairs to steel members

• painting the arch

The controlled one-lane traffic pattern will continue throughout construction with the exception of 15 overnight closures needed when the floor beams are being replaced. Those non-consecutive closures will not occur on weekends or holidays.

Separate detour routes are planned for cars (using Cochecton Bridge) and trucks (using Barryville Bridge) during overnight closures.

Boater traffic will be diverted to the side where overhead work is not occurring.

PennDOT will pay to station an ambulance on the Pennsylvania side to assist with any emergency response.

The contractor is responsible for making advance public notifications about the closure schedule and will have a list of contacts to inform directly. Notification will occur through published advertisements, websites, and flashing information on a variable message sign at minimum.

Kellams-Stalker Bridge

A public meeting will take place in the spring of 2017 to provide an update on the 2017 project for structural repairs and painting. The work will require an expected 8 to 9 month full closure. Work should be completed within that one season.

The DOT was reminded to coordinate with a road bridge project on S.R. 1018 that also will require a closure.

Reassurance was given that the Kellams-Stalker work would be delayed if it was impacted by the unavailability of that route.

Callicoon-Damascus Bridge

A public informational meeting is being organized for mid-August 2016 to provide an overview and solicit feedback on this $8 million project for 2018, which is in preliminary design phase to replace the deck and make repairs to the steel members and substructure. There will be alternating single-lane closures with temporary sidewalks installed during construction in recognition of the amount of pedestrian use.

For more information, visit

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