TO: Batchellerville Bridge Action Committee Members
FROM: Peter Van Avery
DATE: September 24, 2013

Demolition of the old Batchellerville Bridge across Great Sacandaga Lake at Edinburg is moving into its final stage. The contractor, Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, has finished cutting the steel superstructure into manageable sections, which -- one by one -- were hoisted off their concrete piers by a floating crane, lowered onto a barge, and carried to shore, where they were sliced into smaller pieces and trucked away.

Now the spotlight shifts to the concrete piers. They are going to disappear from view in a series of explosions. A flashing sign installed at each approach by the state Department of Transportation alerts motorists and pedestrians: "Blasting 9/24-10/4 ... Expect Long Delays."

The piers -- all that's left of the span that carried traffic across the lake at for 82 years -- will be sheared off at an elevation of 740 feet above sea level. This means that the concrete nubs will be under water even during the winter drawdown of the reservoir, which creates storage space for the spring runoff. That drawdown is targeted no lower than elevation 749.

The debris from the demolition of the concrete piers will be used to create fish habitat on the lake's bed. Says DOT's Batchellerville Bridge web page: "This will not only enhance the environmental and recreational quality of the lake but will also reduce the cost of hauling material from the old bridge away from the project site."

The new Batchellerville Bridge was opened to traffic on November 15, 2012. As its first birthday approaches, here are some random thoughts on the new span.

The surface of Great Sacandaga Lake is at 761 feet above sea level--about 6 inches below target.

The next meeting of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District's board will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at the Stillwater Hotel, 2591 Stillwater Road, Lowville, NY.