Margaretville Bridge project still stalled

By Joe Moskowitz
Margaretville’s Swart Street bridge is now getting the attention of the U.S. Congress. There is money to get it fixed, yet nearly three years after being undermined by Hurricane Irene, the person in charge of getting it replaced told the News that he has “no idea when it is going to get done.”
Wayne Reynolds, commissioner of the Delaware County Department of Public Works, said that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) still doesn’t recognize the fact that the county now owns the bridge and because FEMA doesn’t acknowledge the change in ownership, it will not approve the project worksheet. 

Funding issues
Reynolds said that the village was willing to front the construction cost. And Reynolds said the county also has the money, but he said that starting the job without FEMA approval is almost a guarantee that whoever pays for it will not be reimbursed.
The problem started with the size of the bridge. It was always considered a culvert because, according to county measurements, it was less than 20-feet long which meant that the village owned it. The state Department of Transportation measured it and said it is more than 20-feet long which means it is a bridge, not a culvert, and the county, not the village owns it. That, says, Reynolds has FEMA confused. According to their records, Delaware County doesn’t own a Swart Street bridge in Margaretville.

Seeking assistance
Reynolds said Congressman Chris Gibson has promised to try and get FEMA to look at the application. But at this, point Reynolds said he has no idea when it will be approved. He said weather won’t be factor in working on the bridge as long as the ground isn’t covered with ice. But he said the county is busy and finding time to get the work done may be  challenge, but he would like to have the approval to get started.
Reynolds said there are other projects that are falling behind schedule, including sidewalk replacement on county Road 38 in Arkville. He said Delaware County is assisting the Town of Middletown on that project and he said it will get done, even though not as quickly as Middletown would like.