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Bridges, culverts inside the Blue Line in rough shape

Officials with the state Department of Transportation say bridges and culverts located inside the Adirondack Park are in rough shape.

But things don't look much better outside of the Blue Line, either.

The state Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners got a good look at the state of bridges in northern New York on Thursday - and things don't look good.

Motorists in the Adirondack North Country snapped to attention a couple years ago when the state Department of Transportation demolished the Lake Champlain Bridge - which linked Crown Point, New York with Addison, Vermont.

At the time, inspectors said the structure was in deplorable condition and despite a terrible fiscal outlook, the state launched a lengthy effort to build a new bridge - one officials hope will be open to traffic in September.

The fall of the Lake Champlain Bridge raised awareness across the region about the condition of other bridges.

Appearing before the APA Board of Commissioner's on Thursday, DOT Structure Engineer Tom Hoffman painted a grim picture of the current state of bridges and culverts inside the park. He also explained to commissioners how his agency inspects and selects the structures in need of immediate attention.

According to Hoffman, bridges in New York state are inspected on a regular basis. Load posted bridges - those with signs indicating a weight limit - are checked out by inspectors annually. The rest are inspected biannually.

DOT utilizes a rating system of 1 to 7 to pinpoint a bridge's condition - bridges rated a "1" are in critical shape, while those with a "7" are okay, Hoffman says.

Hoffman works in DOT Region 1 - which includes all of Essex County and most of Warren County. He explains that DOT has made positive strides over the last decade, but things are starting to get worse again.

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