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Columbia County sets infrastructure goals for 2011

Jan 17, 2011 7:02 am
Columbia County has been setting its sights on the coming year by looking back at its record for 2010, recently moving from committee assignments and scheduling and basic budgeting parameters, reported last week, to a new emphasis on infrastructure. According to a report in the Register Star, Columbia County Public Works Commissioner David Robinson and Director of Engineering Dean Knox have given themselves kudos for completion, last year, of a $720,000 construction of three sand/salt buildings, one each in Copake, Kinderhook and the Columbia County Highway HQ on Route 23B on the border of Greenport and Claverack. The county also completed the reconstruction of two bridges in , using funding obtained through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds; while design work was done for two more bridges, both in Copake. The two then said the county is preparing for new construction this year, with several projects already put out to bid. Amongst those: The county has earmarked $2.7 million of its capital projects budget for bridge construction, and $3 million for highway capital projects in 2011. including Pleasantvale Road in Clermont; the Rossman Bridge in Stockport; and the Riders Mills Road Bridge in Chatham, all set for emergency repairs.

The bridges on New Forge Road in Taghkanic were both red-flagged by the DOT — one, more than 100 years old and currently closed, will be covered with a reusable, movable, temporary replacement “probably within the next three months,” Robinson said. The county will design a replacement for the other, a concrete deck bridge in better condition, this year. Block Bridge in Hillsdale and Pratt Bridge in Austerlitz are also on the replacement list, Robinson said.

Also on the agenda this year are renovations to the Columbia County Courthouse — which would be made handicapped accessible for the first time once the Office of Court Administration approves final design drawings.

The state DOT reported in 2008 that almost 43 percent of county bridges were “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete,” meaning they don’t meet federal standards for the volume of traffic they carry or have deteriorated so much that they require intensive work. The county has closed four bridges, most on back roads, over the last six years.

The story also reports that Robinson is also hoping to complete a new cell tower on the Pine Haven Nursing Home property to replace the ailing water tower that currently supports two cellular providers. The new tower will have three cell carriers, Robinson said, plus reserved capacity for a fourth if necessary. A contract for design work on the tower will be signed this month.

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