Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just in Time for Flag Day

The Register-Star reports the discovery of a "football-sized hole" in the wooden deck of the Ferry Street bridge. As a consequence, the south lane of the bridge has been closed, making the bridge just one lane. Vehicles entering and leaving the waterfront area must take turns using the north lane of the bridge, and drivers are being encouraged to use the grade-level crossing south of the train station to get to riverfront park and the boat launch.

Last year at Flag Day, a slat on the footbridge gave way when someone was crossing the bridge. According to reports at the time, the person was not seriously injured, but this morning's article indicates that he is suing CSX.

First Ward Supervisor John Musall tried to make the bridge a cause celebre when he took office in 2008. In June 2008, he, Rick Scalera, Cappy Pierro, and Rob Perry, who was then Common Council President, inspected the bridge with CSX engineer Halsey Brown. After that inspection, some of the rotted wood in the deck of the bridge was replaced but obviously not enough.

In February 2009, the Ferry Street bridge was one of five projects Scalera proposed for federal stimulus funds, along with upgrades to the waste water treatment plant, a new water line for Green Street, a new police and city court building, and a parking garage for the northeast corner of Fourth and Columbia streets (to accompany the new DSS building Scalera wants to see built on the northwest corner). Of these, only the waste water treatment plant has received stimulus funding.

Municipalities throughout Columbia County have found CSX decidedly uncooperative when it comes to replacing or repairing bridges over railroad tracks, expecting the municipalities to come up with the needed money. At the same time, CSX has been unwilling to allow new grade-level crossings.


  1. Let's not bother with fixing that bridge. If Holcim and O & G Construction get their way and we end up with a gravel loading operation at the docks, nobody is going to want to go down to the waterfront anyway.

  2. Carole-
    For your record, the site meeting with CSX chief engineer Halsey Brown at the bridge was attended by Mayor Scalera, Cappy Pierro, Rob Perry and myself. Patrick Doyle was not at that meeting.

    John Musall

  3. Thanks for the correction, John! I'll make it in the post itself so that people won't have to read the comments to get the right information.

  4. It is standard practice among bloggers that a notation of any changes made to an original blog text are made within the original text itself, in brackets.

    This helps to guard against the usually unwelcome impression that a particular blogger simply makes changes wherever and whenever it suits.

  5. That bridge is a real hazard. The planks on the bridge are rotting and covered with stress fractures. The walking path is full of bending rotting boards and the span between the two supporting joists is much too far. If I submitted this walkway design as a plan for a building permit to build on my lot, I wouldn't get one. If someone falls through a rotting board, there is no fencing underneath to catch them, down they will go to the railroad tracks. The whole thing needs to be redone before a major catastrophe occurs.