LEADER-HERALD
Gloversville, NY
April 29, 2007

EDITORIAL

Move ahead with bridge

The New York State Department of Transportation is getting closer to starting the construction of a new Batchellerville Bridge over the Great Sacandaga Lake in Edinburg. The state wants to begin construction next year and finish the bridge in 2011.

The state has been planning this $41.6 million bridge-replacement project for eight years. One of the debates has focused on the bridge's height. Some have called for a structure with a 42-foot clearance between the bottom of the center of the bridge and the water. Others asked for a 35-foot clearance, and still others a 55-foot clearance.

Sailboat enthusiasts lobbied for the highest clearance so tall masts can pass under the arched bridge.

Supporters of the 42-foot clearance say the design would allow at least 90 percent of the lake's sailboats to pass underneath.

Some argue a higher bridge would hinder people's view of the lake and require a steeper arch, which could pose safety problems, especially during the winter.

Several years ago, the state informally agreed to the 42-foot clearance as a compromise. Judging by people's comments at a hearing about the project last week, most lake residents appear to be satisfied with the compromise. In addition, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors recently endorsed it.

We join others in supporting the 42-foot clearance. The bridge proposal also includes a lighted sidewalk, which would be convenient and safe for pedestrians. We recommend the state move ahead with the plan.

The new bridge, which will carry County Route 98, would last 50 to 75 years, officials say.

The existing bridge is 77 years old and needs to be replaced. The state's delays and the debate over the design have gone on long enough. It's time to focus on the task of building the structure.