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.