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Lockport residents urge keeping North Adam Street Bridge

LOCKPORT – City residents and officials would like to see the state Department of Transportation repair or reconstruct the closed North Adam Street Bridge over the Erie Canal.

DOT scoping supervisor Christopher Church said at a public information meeting Thursday in City Hall that either option would cost about $9 million, counting design costs.

“We don’t have money set aside for this,” Church said.

The DOT has no firm plan for what to do with the bridge, which it closed April 28, 2011, citing deteriorating conditions in the bridge’s structure and the lift mechanism.

“The bridge itself, the structure has some holes,” Church said, pointing to photos on display in Common Council Chambers, where the session was held.

Demolition would cost $200,000 to $400,000, he said.

The span is one of two lift bridges over the canal that are 1,030 feet apart. The other, the Exchange Street Bridge, was closed in 1993 and replaced by a new bridge that opened in 2000.

The contract price for that job was $3.1 million, but Norman Duennebacke, DOT regional structures engineer, said cost overruns pushed the tab close to $5 million.

Also in 2000, the DOT made $300,000 worth of repairs to the lift mechanism for the North Adam span.

Church said one reason building a new bridge now would cost so much more than a decade ago is that a company that specialized in lift machinery in 2000 now seems to be out of business.

“Essentially, we’d have to build it from scratch,” he said.

“We’re looking at the need for this bridge, how people used it, how inconvenient it is to use the Exchange Street Bridge,” Duennebacke said.

“People seem interested in the historical aspect of this bridge.”

“Just look at how beautiful that is,” said Alderwoman Anne E. McCaffrey as she viewed photos of the North Adam span, built in 1918.

“It sounds like the better alternative is to rehabilitate it because of the historical aspect,” said Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick.

Church said some residents he talked with seemed interested in using the bridge for pedestrians only.

He said there was a question of who might maintain a pedestrian bridge. “The city has not expressed an interest,” he said.