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Joshua Thomas - The Route 80 bridge connecting Fort Plain and Nelliston will be closed June 24 through Aug. 30 to undergo necessary repairs.


Route 80 bridge work begins June 24

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - Updated: 9:09 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN — The New York State Department of Transportation notified Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton this week that Route 80 bridge repair work, delayed from the original start date of June 25, 2012, will begin June 24 of this year. The bridge work is scheduled to conclude Aug. 30.

The bridge will be closed to all traffic during the repair process, which will replace numerous rusted gusset plates to increase the strength of the structure. The deterioration of the plates was discovered during a 2009 DOT inspection, at which time the bridge’s maximum load weight was decreased to 25 tons.

It was noted during an informational session held in Fort Plain in 2011 that the bridge, originally constructed in the 1930s to connect Fort Plain and Nelliston, is still in good shape, though if the gusset plates are left to further rust, the structure’s load weight status could again be decreased to the point that school buses wouldn’t be able to cross it.

Since no traffic, including emergency vehicles, will be allowed on the bridge starting June 24, the Fort Plain Volunteer Fire Department will station a vehicle in Nelliston, as they are paid to provide mutual aid to Nelliston and Palatine Bridge.

The bridge is also scheduled to receive a new paint job, though Barton said that won’t happen until 2014, at which time the bridge will temporarily become a one-lane structure.

While the project was originally scheduled to take place last summer, it was postponed because the bid quotes were unacceptably high. During the most recent bid process, the DOT bundled four structures together to receive a reduced quote, including a bridge in Utica, and two in Fort Hunter.

Barton said that he will take the time between the announcement and construction  to try to convince the DOT to replace the bridge entirely. “I’m going to ask and plead with them to put a new bridge in here, which should’ve been done 20 years ago,” Barton said Tuesday. He noted that the Route 10 bridge connecting Canajoharie and Palatine Bridge “would be the ideal bridge for the village of Fort Plain.”

Barton stated of the detour route, which will divert travelers to Route 5S from Fort Plain into Canajoharie, to Route 5 in Palatine Bridge, and back to Route 80 in Nelliston, “I feel sorry for the merchants and other people who travel to Fort Plain to shop and visit. It’s adds mileage to their trip.”

Although no date has been set, the DOT will schedule a public informational meeting in the village of Fort Plain soon, which residents with questions and concerns will be invited to attend. The 2011 meeting took place at the Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School auditorium, and Barton noted that the 2013 informational session will likely be held in the same space.


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