JOHNSTOWN - Detour signs were taken down Tuesday in the area of the North Perry Street bridge replacement project, and traffic was allowed to flow freely again on the major city thoroughfare for the first time since last spring.
City officials said Monday the city's largest bridge project ever is basically completed.
Traffic this week began to flow north and south through that area of North Perry Street, and officials said the project ended up being ahead of schedule.
"That's good," 2nd Ward Councilman Chris Foss said at the Common Council meeting Monday at City Hall.
D.H. Smith of Clayville, Oneida County - contractor for the project - had targeted completion of the bridge project by the end of 2012.
Local officials decided to replace the 30-foot-long North Perry Street bridge over the Cayadutta Creek after the state Department of Transportation in 2008 red-flagged what was a deteriorating stone-arch structure located between Smith and Washington streets.
D.H. Smith was paid $1.83 million for its work. 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 DOT is paying 15 percent. The city's share is estimated at $100,000.
The project started in the spring, and motorists have been detoured around the construction site all year.
In his Department of Public Works report to the council Monday, Foss said D.H. Smith completed preliminary paving just in time for traffic to be opened up again this week.
Foss said City Engineer Chandra Cotter indicated "a few items" regarding the bridge project are pending, slated to be completed by spring. He said a financial report on the project will also be "forthcoming" for the city to review.
Mayor Sarah Slingerland told the council a ceremony to mark the bridge project and its history will be conducted in the spring.
"We'll also have a dedication of the bridge," Slingerland said.
She said the ceremony will, in part, pay homage to the loss of life during a flood that struck an earlier incarnation of the bridge. The flood of July 9, 1889 killed five people as it washed out the bridge.
Slingerland said the construction project was able to "capture" the original keystone from that era and it will be part of the future ceremony.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org