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Mamaroneck's North Barry Avenue Bridge, circa 1887, to get $10 million upgrade

A train passes underneath the bridge on North

A train passes underneath the bridge on North Barry Avenue between Halstead and Jefferson Avenues in Mamaroneck. (June 4, 2013) Photo Credit: Caylena Cahill

A pothole-marred Mamaroneck bridge that dates to 1887 and has been held together by patchwork repairs will be getting a $10.3 million makeover courtesy of Metro-North and the state Department of Transportation.

The MTA board signed off Wednesday on Metro-North's $2 million share of the cost of replacing the North Barry Avenue Bridge, a critical north-south route for cars and trucks passing over the commuter rail's tracks.

Village officials have been pushing Metro-North to replace the bridge for the past four years as the span has deteriorated.

"This is a key bridge," said village manager Richard Slingerland. "We've been eager to have them do it."

Firetrucks and other heavy equipment use the bridge, one of the few that cross over Metro-North tracks in the village. It's also a critical evacuation route during emergencies, Slingerland said.

Because of its current state, officials restricted the load limit to six tons. In some spots, Metro-North workers have shored up the potholes with wooden planks, Slingerland said.

After its latest state inspection in November 2012, the bridge was classified as structurally deficient, meaning that it requires more frequent inspections, possibly as often as once a month, state records show.

The state Department of Transportation will pay $8.2 million to replace the 64-foot bridge, between Halstead and Jefferson avenues.

The MTA, Metro-North's parent agency, and the Department of Transportation have already approved $740,000 in design costs. Metro-North will advertise for bids for a construction company by the fall. Construction is expected to begin next spring.

The commuter rail is hoping to have its share of the project costs reimbursed by federal funding.

Village officials expect the bridge, which carries two lanes of traffic, will be closed for some period of time once construction starts. Traffic will be detoured to other crossings.

Westchester and Rockland counties are home to hundreds of older bridges that require regular maintenance to stay open.

A March report by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that 86 of the two counties' 1,514 bridges are considered structurally deficient.

Another 431 are functionally obsolete, meaning their lanes are too narrow or lack the shoulders necessary to carry the amount of traffic they handle every day.

Like the North Barry Avenue bridge, those bridges have posted restrictions warning away trucks that are over the weight limit.

The civil engineers report called on government agencies to increase annual spending for bridge repair and reconstruction by $8 billion annual to a total funding level of $24 billion. It estimated that every day some 200 million trips are made across deficient bridges in 102 metropolitan areas.

Across New York State 2,169 of 17,420 bridges are considered structurally deficient while 4,718 are classified as functionally obsolete.

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