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Frederick B. Durkee bridge renovations completed in North Tonawanda

NORTH TONAWANDA – The City of North Tonawanda rededicated the Frederick B. Durkee Memorial Bridge on Monday. The bridge underwent nearly $2.5 million in repairs over the past two and a half years.

The bridge spans 504 feet from River Road to Tonawanda Island. It’s the only access to Tonawanda Island and could never be fully shut down during repairs. Both lanes reopened to traffic last year, but finishing touches and final repairs were recently completed.

“It’s like a whole new bridge. It has a whole new decking, plus sidewalks on both sides and curbing. The whole bridge has been done over,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur G. Pappas. “It will be good for another 30-plus years.”

The bridge was built and dedicated in 1967 and named after former Mayor Frederick B. Durkee, who died in office the year before.

Several of Durkee’s family members joined city and state leaders for the rededication.

The Durkee bridge is the only bridge owned by the City of North Tonawanda. When the renovation work began, officials learned the damage was much worse than they thought.

“It was quite an extensive rehabilitation project,” Pappas said.

In addition to cosmetic and structure work on the roadway and sidewalk, additional work included replacing pin and hanger plates, added structural supports, replacement of deteriorated structural steel, joint and abutment bearing replacements, and concrete repairs.

The cost to repair the bridge totaled $2.49 million, with just under $2 million covered by the federal government and the rest by the City of North Tonawanda and New York State.