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LAWMAKERS ABANDON 1903 BRIDGE

Allegany County abandoned the 1903 iron bridge across the Genesee River at Caneadea Monday.

But not before the County Legislature heard a plea from a committee trying to save the structure.

Miriam Morton, who heads Save the Caneadea Bridge Committee, told the Legislature its recent objection to including the bridge on state and national historic registers "only delays the process" of getting it listed.

The bridge was closed to traffic Nov. 9, 1993, after engineers determined it would not support traffic loads.

The Legislature's Public Works Committee has since recommended abandonment. That resolution came to the floor Monday.

"I find no joy in this," said Legislator Edmund Burdick, R-Black Creek, public works chairman. "But I honestly feel we're backed into a corner."

The county does not have the money to repair the span to meet contemporary loads.

Several legislators from the area surrounding the bridge spoke against abandonment Monday.

"These people to whom the bridge is important should be commended for their work," said Legislator Rodney K. Bennett, R-Dalton.

He said if the committee is willing to write grant applications and otherwise seek the money to refurbish the bridge, the Legislature should not impede them.

Legislator Roy Lucas, R-Wellsville, called the effort to save the bridge futile.

"No matter how much work we do, we end up with a 15-ton, or maybe three-ton-limit bridge," he said. "We'll never have a really useful bridge for the development of that part of the county."

The bridge was designed for horse and buggy loads when it was built, he said.

Burdick said the formal abandonment of the bridge does not preclude the committee from seeking funds to restore it as a foot or bicycle crossing over the river.

"There's no saying we can't give this bridge to these people later," said Burdick.

Among the five legislators voting against abandoning the bridge were the three members from the district it has served -- Bennett, Kenneth Nielsen, R-Houghton, and Alton Sylor, R-Fillmore.

In other matters:

A Buffalo waste contractor made an unsuccessful plea for reconsideration of a dumping contract.

Raymond Walter, vice president of Earth Watch Systems, asked the Legislature to look again at a deal he had proposed for the county to accept waste from a plant in Towanda, Pa.

The Public Works committee had approved the deal to accept about 5,000 tons of clay-like material from Osram Sylvania this year, but the Legislature turned down the contract in February.

Walter said he assumed committee approval was tantamount to endorsement of the contract.

It was not, he learned, when he was notified the deal fell through on an 8-6 vote of the full Legislature.

That will cost his company $100,000, he said. He assured legislators the waste he proposes to truck to Angelica at $14 per ton is environmentally acceptable under state standards.

"When do you think I could get an answer?" he asked.

Burdick said the matter would have to go through the committee system, with an answer unlikely before the first April meeting.

The Legislature applied for a state grant to fund part of the cost of a baling machine to compact refuse, including recyclables.

Legislator Roy Lucas, R-Wellsville, objected to the plan, claiming Public Works Superintendent Richard Young had been unable to cite for him a single private landfill operator using the system.

That must mean, said Lucas, that it is not cost-effective.

Young said the compacting system is designed for municipal operations the size of Allegany County's, not for large commercial landfills. Young said he went to the Midwest, at committee direction, to see a baling operation and found it working well.

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