2017-10-04 / Front Page

Margaretville community welcomes return of Swart Street Bridge

Village span was wrecked in 2011 flood
By Brian Sweeney

More than six years after it was heavily damaged from historic flooding resulting from Hurricane Irene, the Swart Street Bridge in Margaretville reopened on September 28.

The bridge replacement project was repeatedly delayed by a number of issues over the years, but work finally got underway on July 10.

Jim Tepfer, a civil engineer with the Delaware County Department of Public Works, oversaw the project. The work was contracted out to R. DeVincentis Construction Inc. out of Binghamton.

Mr. Tepfer explained that the new 46-foot span over Bull Run Creek was built to withstand the types of flooding that have become more commonplace in the region.

“The waterway was increased from 15 feet to nearly double that. We kept the actual channel at 15 feet for normal flows, but added a “flood bench” that is much wider – about 30 feet,” the engineer stated.

“This design makes it so there’s less chance of debris clogging the channel and the flood bench slows the water velocity,” he noted.

Built to last

Mr. Tepfer said that, structurally, the other key difference in the new bridge is that, “We’ve driven sheet pile — ranging from 10-20 feet high — at the abutment. This eliminates the risk of scour when water gets behind the abutment.”

In addition to the sheet pile abutment, there’s a thick wall of concrete, grade beam, pre-stressed concrete beams and a poured concrete deck.

“We build them to last,” he added.

Mr. Tepfer said the job was estimated to cost $731,000.

Margaretville Mayor Diana Cope was thrilled that the project is complete.

Mayor is grateful

“The village is very pleased that the Swart Street Bridge is now open. We are very grateful to Delaware County and their contractors who did a very professional job, working through all kinds of weather delivering on schedule. We would also like to thank our neighbors on Swart Street for their patience and understanding. They will never have to worry about the bridge again,” Mayor Cope stated.

Gail Lennstrom has the Swart Street home closest to the project and didn’t have use of her driveway for three months. Yet, she had nothing but praise for work that was performed.

“I’m glad it’s done. The contractors and the county were amazingly helpful. I didn’t have driveway access for three months and the crews could not have been more helpful,” Gail stated. “They were here absolutely every day at 7 – sometimes before – and they were unbelievably present and committed to getting the job done.”

When the bridge reopened on Thursday, Mr. Tepfer said that motorists quickly adapted their driving habits.

“It’s been so long, we thought it might take them awhile to get used to it — but it was only about 20 seconds” before the first vehicle came through, he laughed.

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