Bridge repair project announced

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday $500,000 in state funding is available to help rebuild the Otsquago Creek Bridge in Fort Plain on the Erie Canal Trail.

The bridge was destroyed in June when flood waters rose from the Otsquago Creek, flooding Fort Plain and destroying the bridge

Guy Barton, mayor of Fort Plain, said the water rose, washing out the abutment and causing the bridge to fall into the creek, cutting off Fort Plain from the rest of the Erie Canal Trail.

“As we celebrate Earth Day, we continue to invest in our parks and historic sites statewide,” Cuomo stated in a news release. “New York is proud to have the nation’s oldest state park system, and we will continue to do all that we can to preserve and guard these natural resources so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The bridge repair funding is part of a state effort to improve and repair 53 state parks and historic sites, according to the release.

“Not only will this investment continue to make much needed repairs in cherished State Parks large and small, the Governor’s 21st century transformation of our park system will enhance our environment, preserve our heritage, connect people with healthy, active outdoor recreation, and rev the engines of local economies,” Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said.

Barton was excited to hear that the bridge would be rebuilt. Barton said the Parks and Recreation Department had agreed to rebuild the bridge, and had placed the construction out to bid.

When the bridge is reconstructed, Barton said the village will once again be able to have bikes and snowmobiles flowing through it.

“It kind of cut off the snowmobile trail and the walking path for people,” Barton said.

Barton said he hopes the bridge will be completed by the end of the year.

Other local projects include a 4.6 mile stretch of trail on the Erie Canalway Trail, between Amsterdam and Pattersonville, budgeted at $245,000.

According to the news release, there are over 69 projects planned, with $90 million in funding set aside. This year’s funding will launch a multi-year $65 million plan to restore Jones Beach State Park on the Long Island Coast; continue a $50 million revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the nation; and build a nature center at Letchworth State Park.