No one knows when Cobleskill’s Shady Tree Lane bridge will reopen to traffic—because no one knows when the work will start.
This despite the fact that the long-awaited project was awarded $2.36 million in January as part of New York State’s Bridge NY Initiative and is at the top of the list, Supervisor Leo McAllister said Monday.
Because the initiative—which awarded $13 million to Mohawk Valley municipalities to rehabilitate and replace 10 bridges and culverts—is new, even the state is unclear on the exact process; six months ago the town had all of the required paperwork filed, Highway Superintendent Mike Persons said, only to find out two months ago there was still more.
“It’s very frustrating for the people out there,” Mr. McAllister said. “We’re right up there on the list, but we can’t do anything.”
Councilman Liz Montario suggested going to elected state officials for help and Mr. McAllister agreed to contact Senator Jim Seward to try to get the ball rolling.
“There are a lot more layers in the process,” added Town Attorney Mike West, who also said there’s no reason to believe the money won’t come through.
The town has the necessary easements and right-of-ways, he said. “We’re basically shovel-ready.”
Also Monday, Supervisor McAllister and councilmen talked about the possibility of going in with the Villages of Schoharie and Middleburgh to buy a $220,000 street sweeper that the three municipalities would share.
The details are still being worked out, but Mr. McAllister said Schoharie is especially interested; Middleburgh, concerned that the distance to Cobleskill is too far, is less so.
Councilman RJ Mallery suggested approaching SUNY Cobleskill too, but Mr. Persons said sharing and scheduling the sweeper four ways would probably prove too difficult.
“Three is enough,” Mr. Persons said, though if Middleburgh doesn’t sign on to the deal, approaching the college is a possibility.
The municipalities would need to make a decision by the fall to get the sweeper by next spring; Mr. McAllister also pointed out that interest rates are rising.
“We have to make a decision in the next month if we’re going to do this,” he said.