Rensselaer Co. closes bridge for structural issues, rusted steel


SCHODACK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Rensselaer County bridge has been closed because of structural issues.

The bridge on Route 4 in Schodack was replaced just 24 years ago. Bridges typically last several decades, so county leadership says they’re disappointed in how quickly it has deteriorated.

Rensselaer County Engineer Joe Teliska says it comes down to the material used – steel instead of galvanized steel. He pointed out the rusted out steel underneath the bridge.

“So this is the primary reason, extreme section loss in the web. As you can see, there’s no web here,” he explained.

This resulted in a red flag after a DOT inspection on Monday. Immediate action had to be taken.

“It’s definitely not safe for any large vehicles, so it’s basically at the end of its service life,” said Teliska.

The bridge was first flagged in 2016 and again in 2017 when traffic was reduced to a single lane.

“We were just trying to stretch as much life out of the structure as we could,” said Teliska.

Funds were set aside for the $500,000 project in 2017, but work has stalled.

“Historically, when you’re over a railroad track, it’s a very lengthy process,” he said.

The county must come to an agreement with the railroad before work can begin.

Rensselaer County Director of Operations Richard Crist said, “The county expected to get more life out of this bridge, and unfortunately, are forced to replace it for safety reasons.”

The steel will be replaced with galvanized steel and the porous asphalt deck will be replaced with concrete that Teliska says should last for the next 50 years.

The county is waiting to hear back from the railroad before they can act with hopes the work can be done and the bridge back open by summer of 2020.

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