Johnstown’s North Perry Street bridge project done

JOHNSTOWN – City officials said this week the $2.4 million North Perry Street bridge replacement project is done.

“The bridge paving has been completed,” Mayor Sarah Slingerland announced Tuesday.

The project – which became the city’s largest-ever bridge replacement project -?started in spring 2012.

Recent work involved the completion of a sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, as well as other final paving and landscaping.

Local officials decided to replace the bridge after the state Department of Transportation in 2008 red-flagged what had become a deteriorating stone-arch structure.

The project over the Cayadutta Creek started in spring 2012.

The main contractor for the project was D.H. Smith Co. of Clayville, Oneida County. The company was being paid $1.83 million for its work, but other factors pushed total project cost to about $2.4 million.

Federal Highway Administration money paid for 80 percent of the project, and DOT is paying 15 percent. The city’s share of the total cost was estimated at about $100,000.

“If it lands in at $2 million, the local share will end up being about $100,000,” city Treasurer Michael Gifford said Wednesday.

DOT is planning a ceremony to mark completion of the project and commemorate the massive July 9, 1889, flood that damaged an earlier incarnation of the bridge. Five people lost their lives in that disaster.

The construction project recovered the original keystone from that era and it will be part of the ceremony. The city will display the object, which the builder had put in at the bridge in 1878. On the keystone are the initials “MJA,” believed to stand for bridge builder Michael J. Argersinger, who died in Johnstown in 1892.

DOT plans to put up a traditional blue state historical marker at the site. A railroad tie also was found during construction from the days when a horse-drawn trolley would use the bridge. Slingerland said she is still awaiting word from the DOT about the ceremony to dedicate the new bridge.

Traffic over the bridge, which lies between Smith and Washington streets, was rerouted for most of 2012 until it was reopened in November.

The detour was put up briefly again this spring while remaining paving work on North Perry Street was completed.