Dry Brook, Oliverea bridge work underway

By Brian Sweeney
The installation of two major bridge projects along county-maintained roadways damaged by August 28 flooding is planned for completion by January.

Officials have indicated that a replacement structure for the “Arthur White Bridge” spanning the Dry Brook stream in Delaware County is targeted for opening to emergency vehicles by December 24. The structure, which is situated about three miles from Route 28, is targeted to be open to all traffic by January 14, 2012. Work on the bridge is expected to get underway this week.

Wayne Reynolds, commissioner of the Delaware County Department of Public Works, indicated that several alternatives were explored in evaluating the best way to replace the bridge. He said it was decided that foregoing a temporary structure and planning for a permanent bridge would be the safest, most cost-effective and timely solution.

A collapse along Ulster County Route 47 (Big Indian-Oliverea Road) left a 30-foot-deep by 50-foot chasm in the roadway as floodwaters raged in a tributary to the Esopus Creek.

Ulster County Department of Public Works Supervisor Bob Graney has indicated that plans call for a 66-foot steel bridge to be erected across what has come be known as “The Gap.” A walking bridge has been installed as a temporary span across the stream. The new bridge is scheduled for completion by mid-December.

There was no bridge at this location as the stream flowed under the roadway was via large culvert pipe. The washout, about a mile above the Full Moon Resort, has been particularly difficult for about 30 employees from the Frost Valley YMCA who travel to work from the Big Indian side of the facility. Since the flood, Frost Valley workers have been carpooling to The Gap, walking across the stream (and later the walkway) and then getting picked up on the other side in Frost Valley buses or other vehicles.

Construction crews will spend about two weeks digging and making other preparations before pouring the footings.

Mr. Graney said that his department also anticipates pouring footings this Friday for county Bridge 178 on Dry Brook Road. The bridge is about a quarter-mile past the Dry Brook Community Hall in the Town of Hardenburgh. This smaller bridge project is expected to take three or four weeks to complete.