Amsterdam, NY
April 30, 2007

Proposed bridge height worries supervisor

By TONY PASTORE, Recorder News Staff

TOWN OF NORTHAMPTON - Town of Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper has concerns over the New York State Department of Transportation's (DOT) plans to replace the 77-year old deteriorating Batchellerville Bridge that connects the Town of Edinburgh over the Great Sacandaga Lake.

The current bridge is 28-feet wide with two 10-foot travel lanes, two three-foot shoulders.

The new bridge is slated to be 42-feet wide and 42-feet high with two five-foot shoulders and a six and a half-foot wide raised sidewalk for pedestrians as well as bicyclists. The new bridge will also have lighting while the current bridge does not and a lifespan of 50 to 75-years. Construction is set to begin in fall of 2008 and finish in summer 2011.

Kemper has concerns over the height of the new bridge which has a small arch to allow sailboats to pass through.

I don't want to offend someone, but putting in a higher bridge for sailboats is ludicrous because it takes sailboats all day to get to that bridge anyway. There is not a lot of sailboaters that go there in general. You are catering to a small seasonal population that does not know what it is like to live here all year. I don't want to knock the sailboaters but we need to be realistic. I like seeing the sailboats on the lake but safety is more important," said Kemper.

Kemper is concerned over the safety issues associated with the arch.

"I have been on the current bridge when it is snowy and slick. I say the lower the better. I think the concerns of the sailboaters should not take precedence over the safety of our residents. We have people that travel that bridge everyday. Our residents travel that bridge a lot. This is better than the original concept of over 50-feet," said Kemper

Though Kemper has concerns over the bridge's height she says that it is important to replace the current bridge and likes the other features.

"We need a new bridge as fast possible. Without a bridge, it would divide communities. We have many residents that travel the bridge in their commutes to work each morning. We want to get this thing going. I like the wider bridge and I like the pedestrian sidewalk," said Kemper Earlier in the month the Town of Northampton board approved a resolution to support and urge the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBR) to accept the Great Sacandaga Lake Advisory Committee's (GSLAC) first set of recommendations regarding revisions to rules and regulations regarding permit use on the Great Sacandaga Lake. The GSLAC consists of nine towns that have lakeside land. Broadalbin and Mayfield have also passed similar resolutions to encourage HRBR to accept these recommendations. "We wanted direct users of that lake that make up the GSLAC to make recommendations rather than people who have no stake in the lake make decisions about the river. It's nuts," said Kemper.

Kemper also said that the original rules presented by HRBR were "overwhelming" and that the group should carefully consider these recommendations.

"There were already rules imposed by other groups such as the Adirondack Park Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. HRBR was originally supposed to be a public benefit entity. We want them to take this seriously because it represents many groups. We all took a stance together and will continue to do so. This group has met extensively and put horrendous hours in to finalize these recommendations," said Kemper.

The town board will also call a special meeting this coming week and according to Kemper will pass a resolution to sign a contract with contractors, AES Northeast out of Plattsburgh, to form a preliminary design for the Sacandaga Park Sewer District (SPSD).

The SPSD was formed in an effort to replace pipes that are up to 100-years old in the Sacandaga Park. The district serves 103 users with 66 of them being seasonal properties. The infiltration of the water has been fixed on a "when needed" basis. When the infiltration became a risk, the town would patch it up. Kemper wants a more permanent solution with a new piping system to replace the century-old piping.

Kemper said that AES Northeast was a good choice because they have had experience fixing and constructing piping systems in the past. AES will form a preliminary design and once it is formed the town board will determine if they want to enact the plan. Once the board approves a resolution to accept the preliminary design, construction can begin.