Tuesday February 12, 2013

NEWFANE -- Town officials are moving forward with reconstructing two bridges that were washed away when Tropical Storm Irene struck in August 2011.

Hunter Brook Bridge and Lynch Bridge, both off Dover Road in an area that was hit hard by Irene's flooding, are scheduled for replacement.

The Hunter Brook project is further along, as the town is advertising for contractors this week. Those bids are due at the town office by March 7, with construction to follow sometime in the spring.

"We want to have everything ready to go as soon as possible," said Jon Mack, Newfane Selectboard chairman.

A temporary Hunter Brook Bridge was erected slightly downstream from the location of the old bridge after Irene swept through the region. The new bridge will be built on the site of the old bridge, Mack said.

The request for contractors' proposals calls for disposing of the former bridge abutment and "construction of a new 80-foot precast concrete box beam bridge and new precast concrete abutments with related channel work and roadway approaches."

The job is supposed to be complete by Oct. 31.

Town officials have been working with Brattleboro-based SVE Associates, which is designing the new bridge.

SVE late last year presented four options for the span's deck. The Selectboard chose the least-costly deck option, estimated at $111,000.

The project's total cost will be determined by the pending construction bids. Mack said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 90 percent of the bridge replacement, and the state will pay most of the remainder.

"This is a FEMA-reimbursable project," Mack said. "It's flood damage."

Lynch Bridge also is eligible for FEMA reimbursement. The span had served just one home before it was washed out by Irene.

The Selectboard last year explored the idea of buying that property and not replacing Lynch Bridge. Then, the board could have used FEMA money that had been earmarked for the bridge -- up to $455,220 -- for other improvements including road work, a truck purchase and repairs at the town office and Williamsville Hall.

But at a special meeting in November, town voters rejected the property purchase amid concerns about liability and additional costs. So the Selectboard is proceeding with replacing the bridge.

Mack said a request for design services will be advertised soon.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.