Stimulus money helps Cohoes rebuild bridge

COHOES — The Bridge Avenue bridge in Cohoes shut down Friday and will not reopen for a year, as the City prepares to rebuild it, thanks to help of millions in stimulus funding.

Cohoes will reopen the bridge in the fall of 2010.

In the meantime, a third traffic lane has been added on Ontario Street to keep traffic moving.

 “This bridge, which is well over 80 years old, needed to be replaced. If you take one look at it you can tell,” Cohoes Mayor John McDonald (D) told NEWS10.

Mayor McDonald tells says he is overjoyed to begin bridge reconstruction. He admits safety concerns at the Bridge Avenue bridge have often kept him up at night. Now with federal stimulus backing, however, the project that has been in the works for years can finally get going

“You want it to be spent on legitimate projects,” Mayor McDonald said, “Go under this bridge if you dare. It's a legit project.”

Cohoes is receiving $6.6 million to get the job done. McDonald says the year it will take to complete the project is worth it.

In other parts of the region stimulus dollars are also being spent, but perhaps not as quickly as once hoped. The City of Albany recently broke ground on a $15 million facelift to Delaware Avenue, but critics say there needs to be more evidence of such stimulus recovery.

Local transportation officials strongly disagree.

“People say we don't see as much going on, if you look in the right places you do see things going on,” contested DOT spokesman Peter Van Keuren.

An $8 million resurfacing project along Route 5 is one proposal Van Keuren hopes to see started in just a few months. The work still needs a contractor, but Van Keuren says he'd rather see the work done right than have it hurried.

“Although it appears Stimulus Money is trickling in, there are certain things we have to follow to make the process official,” Van Keuren said.

A concept Mayor McDonald knows very well.

“It takes a while for projects to come to fruition,” the Mayor told NEWS10.

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