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Moriah bridges to be replaced

Essex County leading projects

Engineers are designing a new bridge to replace the Moriah Center Bridge on Plank Road. That bridge is now open to traffic, but has been flagged as “severely deteriorated” by state inspectors.

Engineers are designing a new bridge to replace the Moriah Center Bridge on Plank Road. That bridge is now open to traffic, but has been flagged as “severely deteriorated” by state inspectors. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— The new Moriah Center Bridge is expected to cost about $1.7 million. The federal Highway and Bridge Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project will pay for 80 percent of the work, LaVigne said. New York State will pay 15 percent of the cost and Essex County will pay the remaining 5 percent.

The Moriah Center Bridge is the most-heavily traveled span in the county, handing more vehicles a day that the Champlain Bridge that connects New York and Vermont.

“The daily average traffic across the (Moriah Center) bridge is more than 4,000 cars a day,” laVigne said. “It peaks at a bout 6,000 a day.”

That’s no surprised to Scozzafava.

“We have a lot of people who use that bridge to get to work at the (Moriah Shock) prison and to Elizabethtown (the county seat0,” he said. “There are two hamlets with about 3,000 people living north of the bridge and another 2,000 people south of the bridge in Port Henry. That’s a busy area.”

Scozzafava noted four roads — Plank Road, Witherbee Road, Moriah Road and Ensign Pond Road — intersect at the bridge.

“The logistics of replacing that bridge while maintaining a flow of traffic are challenging,” the supervisor said.

Placing a temporary span at the site while the Moriah Center Bridge is being replaced is crucial, Scozzafava said.

“If you simply close that bridge it would be devastating to the people who use and the businesses in the area,” he said.

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