January 23, 2022

Firms’ help sought in getting funds for Floral Avenue span

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A car crosses the Floral Avenue bridge over Dry Creek Wednesday in Cortland. The city Department of Public Works is seeking bids for an engineering firm to help it win funding to replace the bridge.

The Cortland Department of Public Works will submit a request for proposals today for engineering firms to help apply for state funding for work on the Floral Avenue bridge, Deputy Superintendent Nic Dovi said Wednesday.

Dovi said the city has tried in the past to apply for funding from the state BridgeNY program, which helps fund bridge projects, but has been unsuccessful. Other municipalities apply with the help of engineering firms and they have been successful, he said.

A bid will be awarded Friday, he said.

The cost of the work, and how much the DPW was looking to get from BridgeNY, remained undetermined Wednesday.

“Right now, we’re just asking to review the situation,” Dovi said.

Dovi said the bridge hadn’t been flagged by the state Department of Transportation as unsafe, but “we don’t want to wait till that point” before doing major work, he said.

The bridge was built in 1935 and was last inspected in 2020, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Dovi said work was needed on the bridge’s stanchion joints and bridge curbing.

In addition to this, should the city receive funding from the program, it will also look to replace culverts on Townley, Maple and Lincoln avenues, Dovi said.

He did not have a timeline for work as it was still in the planning and application stage.

“We just keep chipping away at the older infrastructure, the bridges and culverts, and this is part of that,” Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said.

One of these other infrastructure projects includes the Gateway Project, which will replace aging pipes along Clinton Avenue along with creating bike lanes, adding new lighting and new crosswalks, among other parts.

Tobin said flooding hasn’t been a recent issue along Dry Creek — which the Floral Avenue bridge passes over — but has along other creeks in the city such as Otter Creek.

With wild weather changes due to climate change causing damage to landscapes, Tobin said it’s important to maintain the infrastructure and areas surrounding waterways.

“You have to be prepared for changing conditions,” he said.