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Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

NY bridges need $27.4 billion in repairs

NY bridges need $27.4 billion in repairs

The analysis found that almost 13 percent of all locally owned bridges are considered structurally deficient.

With bridges in New York City subtracted from the total, the estimated cost of repairing county-owned bridges would be $7 billion.

Aging bridges owned by local governments in NY are in need of costly repairs, according to a new report.

The overall percentage of structurally deficient local bridges declined from 16.7 percent to 12.8 percent from 2002 to 2016, while the state's percentage was relatively flat at around 9 percent.

In Jefferson County, the state says 46 bridges out of 317 are structurally deficient.

Local municipalities are generally responsible for the costs of the repairs, though they receive some assistance from the state and federal governments. Albany County has seven deficient bridges, or 8.4 percent.

DiNapoli noted the report is coming out as questions surround the future of federal infrastructure funding.

Charlie Sickler, deputy commissioner of highways for Erie County, says the county owns around 19 bridges classified as structurally deficient. That program has been funded at $438 million per year by the state. "We used to use federal aid to pay for the work, but that has since dried up".

Greene County is in the process of undertaking several bridge projects including the South Road Bridge over Glen Brook in Cairo and the Hervey Street Bridge over Thorpe Creek in Durham.

"We do have a backlog of structures that do need attention", he said.

This is a point highlighted in Mr. DiNapoli's report.

"Local governments are facing a big price tag for maintaining and repairing local bridges", DiNapoli said in a press release.

With a mix of adequate state and federal assistance, Mr. Lawrence said the county can take on up to 10 bridge and culvert rehabilitation projects per year.

James L. Lawrence Jr., Jefferson County Highway Department supervisor, noted that the report does not take culverts into account, which can add millions of dollars more in fix costs to local counties.

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