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More funds approved for Lower River Road bridge

CORNWALL — An additional $150,000 in funding to rebuild the Lower River Road bridge was approved at the annual town meeting Oct. 28.Even as residents were voting, workers from Mohawk Northeast Construction were working under the floodlights to stay on schedule to build a stronger version of the bridge destroyed Aug. 28 by Tropical Storm Irene. They have until Dec. 10 to complete the bridge, per their contract with the town.Project Manager Roger Kane reported the drilled subfootings and abutment on the north side were completed that day, and two of six on the south side were in. The going has been on pace, if not rougher than anticipated. Test borings showed they would be up against a lot of rocks and old cobblestones that have piled up by the bridge, which spans Mill Brook just before its convergence with the Housatonic River. Those results drove the decision to drill bedrock footings, rather than ramming in sheets of steel.Still, they were surprised by the size of the boulders that have washed down the brook in flood waters over the decades.“One thing everyone agrees on is that Cornwall has got some huge, tough stones,” Kane said. “We grind through them all day long.”Kane said he is very impressed with the contractor’s capabilities and cooperativeness. “They know their stuff. I’m learning a lot out there. It’s going to be the strongest bridge in town, and they plan to be done before Thanksgiving.”Total cost is estimated at $620,000. The latest appropriation is in addition to $450,000 approved at an Oct. 8 town meeting. The capital projects line item for bridges has a $70,000 balance, allowing costs to be covered plus a contingency fund. Some of that will go toward a $500 per day incentive for an early project completion. FEMA has agreed to reimburse the town for 75 percent of costs.

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