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State seeks to replace deteriorating bridge

The Route 22B bridge has been the scene of many accidents

This bridge carries traffic over the Saranac River along Route 22B. New York state plans to replace it due to deterioration.

This bridge carries traffic over the Saranac River along Route 22B. New York state plans to replace it due to deterioration. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

MORRISONVILLE — A plan to replace a deteriorating bridge is moving ahead.

New York State wants to replace a well-traveled bridge that carries people over the Saranac River and is located where the towns of Schuyler Falls and Plattsburgh meet.

The Route 22B bridge in the hamlet of Morrisonville has eroded and the state would be forced to eventually close it if it is not replaced, engineers say.

“It’s moving ahead,” said Michael Flick, New York State Department of Transportation.

The state expects to spend roughly $9 million on the project.

“We are at the point in the project where we are still examining some alternatives,” Flick said.

Residents living nearby the bridge say the work is long overdue.

“Stand by the bridge and watch the big trucks go by,” said Frank Davis, owner of Red Barn Auto, 1959 Route 22B. “You can hear the thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.”

But Davis is worried about the toll construction will take on his business.

“Hopefully they will get the bridge done, and I won’t lose my business,” he said. “It has to be done.”

New York state must acquire private property to construct the new bridge, and some people could lose as much as 3 feet on each side of the new construction.

But engineers say the underside and the deck of the existing bridge is deteriorating in several areas. Plus, steel trusses, connecting plates and horizontal cross bracing is corroding.

The bridge has also been the scene of several accidents over the years involving vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, according to a state analysis. There are safety concerns pertaining to the bridge approaches.

The bridge replacement and highway improvement project would begin between the intersections of Emory and Mason streets, along Route 22B in the Town of Schuyler Falls and extend easterly to the intersection of Route 22B and Bushey Street in the Town of Plattsburgh.

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