November 30, 2021

Work on Song Mountain Road nearly complete

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A truck drives up Song Mountain Road in Preble on Monday. Erosion control work alongside the road, including the installation of a new guardrail, is almost complete.

The leaves rustled quietly in the distance Monday as birds chirped on Song Mountain Road in Preble, a contrast to the sounds of construction taking place a few days earlier.

Work on the road, including installing erosion control materials and a new guardrail, is almost complete, said Alan Ricottilli, the engineering and maintenance supervisor with the Cortland County Highway Department.

Work began June 7 to install riprap — a barrier used to prevent erosion — on a stretch next to the road between Curtain and Ostico Valley roads and should be complete by this week, he said. Installing a new guardrail will take a little longer.

This is good news for people like Susan Swayze, a Song Mountain Road resident who lives directly across — and a bit elevated — from where work was being done.

“It looks like they’ve done a great job,” Swayze said, and she never had any problem getting to or leaving her home.

Work took place between 8 a.m and 3 p.m. during the week, Ricottilli said.

“But they were really good about letting us in and out anytime we wanted to get in and out,” Swayze said.

Ricottilli did not have details regarding the cost of the project, but said funding came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The work was born out of flooding that washed away parts of the road’s embankment during the Halloween storm in 2019, he said. The storm sent the Tioughnioga and Otselic rivers over their banks, washed out Taylor Valley Road in Taylor and East River Road in Truxton, and forced the county to declare a state of emergency, along with 10 other counties.

“I’m just glad they were able to come in and finish it up and retain the wall so the road’s safe for people,” Swayze said.

Planning work to replace the bridge over Hunts Creek on McGraw Marathon Road in Marathon is in its final design stages, Ricottilli said.

Plans call for a new $1.7 million bridge that will have wider lanes and improve water flow of the creek, according to county planning documents.

Concrete on the bridge, built in 1930, is starting to delaminate and support beams are becoming exposed, making it structurally deficient, Ricottilli said.

A 2.8-mile detour from Albro Road around McGraw Marathon Road to the intersection of McGraw Marathon Road and Conrad Road will be in place once work is expected to begin in May 2022, according to planning documents.

Funding for the project will be through the state’s BridgeNY program, though Ricottilli did not have details.

Replacing the bridge, while not an immediate risk, has been one of the main bridge projects the highway department has been focusing on, said Legislator Chris Newell (U-Cortlandville), the chairman of the Cortland County Highway Committee.

“There’s a priority list of bridges and that was certainly up there,” he said.

Bridges to be replaced with a higher priority are the ones on Lorings Crossing Road in Cortlandville and East River Crossing Road in Homer, Newell said.