MAYFIELD-The town is attempting to secure a grant to help upgrade a School Street bridge that crosses the Great Sacandaga Lake.
The state inspects its bridges every two years and recommended the bridge be improved this year.
Concrete work is in order for the bridge, and repainting and repaving work also will be necessary, although it is not being completely rebuilt.
The Leader-Herald/Zach Subar
From left, Mayfield Town Supervisor Herb McLain, Town Attorney Carmel Greco and board members Thomas Ruliffson and Shawn Humphrey participate in a town hall meeting Dec. 18.
"It needs a rehab," town Highway Superintendent Melvin Dopp said.
Town Supervisor Herb McLain said redoing the bridge is "not anything that's super critical, but by next year, it needs to be addressed."
The plan to rebuild is in its preliminary stages. At a town meeting last week, town officials said they would like to obtain a $400,000 federal grant, to be approved by the Fulton County Department of Transportation.
Town officials said they are not sure of the project's value, although Supervisor Herb McLain said this week it was "going to cost some big bucks."
A resolution was passed obligating Dopp to look into the matter after Jan. 1 and produce a rough estimate. Dopp said he will contact an engineer to figure out "exactly what needs to be done."
The town has already set aside money for an engineer to plan the project, but that money will not pay for the actual bridge cost.
McLain said he would like to see the new Barack Obama administration help ensure the country's bridges and roads stay functional. The incoming president has proposed a federal stimulus package designed to improve the nation's highways, and McLain said he was optimistic this federal money would benefit Mayfield.
"We hope that the new president is going to do what he says: he's going to do and start fixing infrastructure," he said.
Fulton County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost said it was unlikely that this particular project would receive federal funding because the bridge will not be replaced. Rehabilitation projects are not necessarily fit for the grants.
"That bridge probably won't make that list," said Yost.
Yost said, though, that it was "too early" to give a definitive answer on the matter.
Still, town officials stressed the importance of preparing for the bridge rehabilitation well in advance.
"In September, when the DOT is ready to release the money, they want this project ready to go," he said.
Dopp said the actual construction process should not take longer than two months.
The town also is working on a project to replace a double culvert on Beech Street. Two old culverts have eroded over the years, so the town is planning to replace both.
The town has not received estimates on that project. Plans are for it to be complete by summer.
"We're just going to tear the whole thing up and replace it the right way," said McLain.
He said having two simultaneous projects makes obtaining grant money a more urgent matter.
Dopp said it was important to keep in mind the projects' purpose.
"If we need to repair the highways, it's for the community's best interest," he said. "If the road needs to be fixed, it needs to be fixed for the sake of the children and the community."
Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org