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OBPA wants $15 million for bridge

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OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority will apply for $15 million from the state Department of Transportation to rehabilitate the U.S. approach to its Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge.

The funding source is DOT’s Strategic Transportation Enhancements Program. OBPA submitted the application Friday and expects an answer in a month.

OBPA Executive Director Wade A. Davis is anticipating a positive response from DOT.

“The authority is hopeful that the $15 million application to the New York State Department of Transportation STEP will be funded,” he said Friday night. “From the bridge inspection report, the bridge is in need of $100 million in maintenance. This application, if successful, would be a good start to the second phase of the rehabilitation process to protect an asset vital to the economy of Northern New York.”

If DOT says yes to the OBPA’s application, Mr. Davis said, things will start happening soon.

“It’s fast-track project,” he said. “This project is shovel-ready. It’s a year from start to finish.”

The project description in the OBPA’s application explains in detail the work that needs to be done. It includes rehabilitation of eight 128-inch simple stinger spans and six 255-foot deck truss spans, painting of the structural steel, steel deck replacement and elimination of raised safety walks.

The project is expected to create 200 jobs.

According to the OBPA’s application, “Annually, over 800,000 vehicles and $4 billion of goods cross the international bridge and is key regional infrastructure to the NYS economy.”

The bridge is 1.5 miles long and was built in 1960.

Last week, a seven-page report on the 53-year-old bridge’s 2012 biennial inspection by the Modjeski & Masters engineering firm, Poughkeepsie, concluded that the St. Lawrence River crossing was in “satisfactory to good condition.” But it needs more than $100 million worth of repairs to paint, fatigue-cracked steel, main cables and suspenders.

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