|The New York State Department of
Transportation (DOT) held an Open House and Meeting on Thursday, June 29,
to present an artist's renderings of the final design for the new Court
Street Bridge for the Village of Owego.
Mike Griffin, NYSDOT Hornell Office, spoke to an audience of about 60 people at the Hubbard auditorium in the County Office Building.
| Mr. Griffin
said that Owego was a very historic community and it was important to the
DOT that the bridge blended into the community and the river.
The new Court Street Bridge will be an under deck arch truss. The bridge will be supported by open steel decking below the roadway instead of above it. This will open up the bridge and improve the views from the bridge. The current bridge is a through truss - the supports rise above and over the roadway.
The new bridge will be three lanes wide, with only two lanes for traffic except at the intersections.
A seven-foot sidewalk will run along the east (Riverow) side of the bridge. Three 14-foot wide outlook points along the sidewalk will allow pedestrians a viewpoint of the river and the village.
A wrought iron rail with an arched design will run down both sides of the new bridge. Griffin pointed out that the railing is very different from the usual concrete wall found on most bridges. "We feel it's very important because it's the same shape as the windows in the courthouse," Griffin said. "It brings the courthouse into the bridge."
Period lighting will illuminate the bridge. Responding to the village's request, the light poles will have the ability to hang banners and decorations. The light poles and the iron railing will be painted a dark green which will contrast with the steel substructure which will be painted burgundy.
The piers under the bridge will have a limestone textured finish. The bridge that existed before the current one was built on limestone piers. The DOT has carried the appearance onto the new bridge for historic purpose.
The north end of the bridge (Court Street end) will feature two brick gazebos on either side.
Mr. Griffin stated that the DOT plans a 70 year lifespan for their bridges, so they must decide what's best for a community for a long period of time. The DOT feels that this design will carry history forward into the next 70 years.
In July 2001, the current bridge will close and be removed. The new bridge will be built at the same location as the current bridge. Traffic will be detoured to other area bridges such as the Hiawatha Bridge, and the 'Millennium Bridge' connecting Apalachin and Campville, which is currently under construction.
There are plans to build a temporary two-bay garage to store emergency vehicles such as fire trucks on the south side of the river near Montrose Turnpike. Construction will begin this year, and the temporary station will be operational before the first of next year. This will provide a six-month lead time while the old bridge is still open. The temporary station will be taken out when the new bridge opens.
A member of the audience at the meeting thanked the DOT for their cooperation and for bowing to the wishes of the village concerning the historic nature of the design of the new bridge.
Mr. Griffin said, "We like doing interesting projects. This is fun for us as well."