January 21, 2022

Cortland bridge work planned after school year ends

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

The Madison Street bridge over Dry Creek at the intersection with Helen Avenue is scheduled for replacement this year. Another three bridges in the city are also slated for improvements this year.

The city will spend $1.2 million to rehabilitate or replace four bridges — three on the West Side — but work is not expected to begin until after schools close for the summer to avoid traffic congestion.

Among the projects is a two- to four-week bridge project on Groton Avenue, a main thoroughfare into the city from Cortlandville.

The bridges

Here’s what’s being worked on:

Madison Street — over Dry Creek.

Groton Avenue — over Otter Creek.

Homer Avenue — over Dry Creek.

Ricard Street — over the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River.

A $710,000 project to replace the Madison Street bridge over Dry Creek is the largest of the projects, city Department of Public Works Commissioner Christopher Bistocchi said at a Common Council meeting this week. The bridge will be removed and replaced with precast concrete beams and a deck, curbing, sidewalks and bridge rails.

The project will be bid separately from bridges at Groton Avenue over Otter Creek near the Byrne Dairy, Homer Avenue over Dry Creek at Suggett Park and Rickard Street over the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River.

The work for those three is expected to cost another $498,303. It includes sidewalk, curbing and bridge rail improvements at the Homer Avenue bridge; sidewalk, curbing and bridge rails at the Groton Avenue bridge; and minor deck repairs, curbing, sidewalks and bridge rail repairs at the Rickard Street bridge.

The council approved a contract Tuesday with Procon Contracting of Vestal for the bridge work on Groton and Homer avenues and Rickard Street and agreed to spend state and federal funds for the Madison Street project in separate 7-0 votes. Alderwoman Michelle Mastropolo (D-1st Ward) was absent.

Bids for the Madison Street bridge are scheduled to be opened June 1 and awarded at the June 20 council meeting, Bistocchi said Thursday. Work would begin as soon as a week later.

The state is paying 80 percent of the project costs. The city plans to use Marchicelli funds from the state to pay another 10 percent of the costs, lowering the total cost to the city for the work to $120,000, Bistocchi said.

The bridge project on Madison Street will help to alleviate potential for flooding along Dry Creek, Alderwoman Kathryn Silliman (D-2nd Ward) said.

The timing of the work on the bridges will be important because of the need to set up detours, Bistocchi said.

Groton Avenue near the bridge will be closed for two to four weeks while the bridge deck is replaced and the Madison Street project is expected to require the same length of closure, although the timing of the projects will be staggered. There will be no closures or detours until mid-June, but details are not yet final, Bistocchi said.

He noted that about 14,000 vehicles travel each day over the section of Groton Avenue where the bridge is located. There is far less traffic on the other streets where other bridge work is planned.

Another restriction on the timing of the projects is state Department of Environmental Conservation rules for trout streams, including Otter Creek and the Tioughnioga River. The permit obtained by the city allows work between May 1 and Oct. 1 to prevent turbidity and sedimentation from interfering with the reproductive cycle of trout, Bistocchi said.

The city plans to repave Madison Street between Floral Avenue near the bridge to the city line next year, after the bridge work is completed, Bistocchi said.