DOT TEARS DOWN PETROVA PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE OVER ROUTE 3 IN SARANAC LAKE.
A Pedestrian Bridge, originally designed to ferry Petrova Elementary and Middle School students in Saranac Lake over Route 3 was hit for the second time yesterday evening, The bridge had already been closed to foot traffic as a result of structural damage caused by a backhoe which was being carried a little too high on a trailer to fit under the bridge. This time, it was another backhoe which did the damage.
Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason says the backhoe’s boom was too high on the trailer towed by a truck headed East on Route 3..
The chief says there was serious concern from the Department of Transportation that the Bridge was very unsafe. Engineers from the Department of Transportation decided the best course of action would be to tear the bridge down.. Rob Haynes is the Franklin County Resident Engineer for the New York State Department of Transportation… He says the goal is to bring the bridge down in the middle.
John Cook is the Regional Director of Operations for Region 7 at the Department of Transportation… “As we take all the fencing down we’ll get the bridge down, hopefully by breaking it in the middle so that nothing is damaged on either side and get it out of the way so that the road can be opened for the holiday weekend.” Cook Said “This is the best way to assure that the span wouldn’t buckle or come down under its own weight and land on the traffic.”
The excavator is rolled up to the bridge on old tires so it doesn’t dig into the pavement on Route 3 and rolls up onto a large pile of sand which has been dumped carefully underneath the bridge to protect the roadway from the falling debris. First to come down is the fence on the edge of the bridge to get the tangle out of the way so the operator can work without the fencing material getting in the way.
Once The fencing is all out of the way, the excavator begins the knock down… Luckily for the 50 or so member crew helping to coordinate this demolition, the weather is cool and comfortable.. The weather forecast is threatening rain for the afternoon… on the fourth or fifth hammer of the excavator’s bucket, it breaks through the walkway.
Removal of the debris will take a few hours and the roadway, none the worse for wear and tear – will be up and ready for use – less one pedestrian bridge – mid afternoon Friday.