JOHNSTOWN - For those headed south into downtown, the southernmost part of North Perry Street will continue to be a detoured area the rest of the year because of a bridge project.
The project is an inconvenience, but local businesses and residents are dealing with it.
The North Perry Street bridge work is one of the city's largest infrastructure projects ever. It began in May and isn't expected to be completed until at least December. The project halts all southbound traffic from Gloversville as well as northbound traffic from Route 30A through the downtown area.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Work continues last week on the North Perry Street bridge project in Johnstown.
For motorists going south on North Perry Street, the detour makes a right onto Washington Street. Drivers headed north on North Perry Street must make a left off West Green Street to avoid the construction.
Ken Newman, husband of attorney Ellen S. Ross at 105 N. Perry St., said being at the epicenter of the detoured construction area has caused some problems.
The couple also lives at the address.
"It has interfered with some of our clients getting here," Newman said.
He said the detour is "not appreciated" by some, but there's not a lot that can be done as final construction has to be waited out.
"Who are you going to complain to?" Newman said. "They've got to get the bridge project done."
The business of Joe Ludwin - PED Electric Service at 117 N. Perry St. - is just north of the detoured area. People have to park along a nearby side street to get to his business. He said business is down, but added the stagnant economy may be just as much to blame as the bridge project.
"We're not advertising or nothing this year. There's not a lot going on," he said.
The 30-foot-long North Perry Street bridge over the Cayadutta Creek is being replaced in the $2.4 million project. The state Department of Transportation red-flagged the deteriorating stone-arch structure between Smith and Washington streets in 2008. D.H. Smith Inc. of Clayville, Oneida County, is doing the bridge work for $1.83 million, but other costs have pushed the total project cost to about $2.4 million. Federal Highway Administration money is paying for 80 percent of the project, and the state Department of Transportation is paying 15 percent. The city's share is estimated at $100,000.
A statement was issued at the Common Council's July 16 meeting thanking the public for being patient during construction.
"Once again, we appreciate your continued support," stated a report from City Engineer Chandra Cotter.
Several homes and businesses are in the area of the project.
City Fire Chief Bruce Heberer said the project hasn't hurt response time by fire units in the central part of the city.
"Any detour slows you down, but it's not significant," he said.
Insurance agent Mike Kinowski, owner of the Kinowski Agency at 108 N. Perry St., said the effect of the bridge project hasn't been that bad on his business.
"We're losing the drive-by advertising," Kinowski said.
He said it "amazes" him that such bridge projects take so long to complete. He noted the city did a bridge project on Market Street a few years ago that took nearly 1 1/2 years to finish.
Anthony Bruno, monitoring the bridge construction for the city, recently gave the Common Council a report on the progress.
He said a sewer line was installed and the existing bridge structure was demolished. The project is awaiting new abutments, and excavation work was done along the Cayadutta Creek.
Previously, the project was estimated to be completed by November.
Bruno said the project is about one-third complete.
Mayor Sarah Slingerland said her office receives inquiries from the public about the bridge construction area.
"There were lots of questions about the length of the project," she said. "It was general, no one in particular."
The mayor said that is par for the course with a construction of this magnitude in the city.
"There's always disruptions when a major project is being done," Slingerland said. "But people know we're trying to get it done in a timely fashion."
Michael Anich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.