Hildebrandt Bridge closed, probably won’t reopen

GREENPORT–The Columbia County Department of Public Works has closed the county bridge that carries Stone Mill Road Extension over the Taghkanic Creek.

The bridge is locally known as Hildebrandt Bridge, in the towns of Greenport and Claverack.

A recent inspection of the bridge, performed by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) Region 8 bridge inspection staff, revealed that the span’s 50-year old superstructure has deteriorated to the point where the bridge must be closed to all traffic, according to a press release.

In addition, the bridge’s foundations–the abutments and wing walls–are constructed of a combination of stone masonry and unreinforced concrete and are likely to be well over 80 to 100 years old, the release said.

In recent years, the county has had to post Hildebrandt Bridge with a reduced weight limit of three tons due to the advancing deterioration of the bridge’s precast, pre-stressed concrete beams, limiting the legal use of the bridge to primarily automobiles and light trucks.

As the bridge deck cannot be repaired or rehabilitated, and both the bridge superstructure and its foundations have reached the end of their useful life, the only option available would be a complete bridge replacement.

With only limited county bridge funding available, numerous other county infrastructure needs and a relatively short and easily accessible detour available over adjacent state highways, the county will likely not reconstruct this bridge.

In addition, and in the interest of traffic safety, the Town of Greenport, in cooperation with DOT, has decided to close the nearby intersection of Yates Road and State Route 9H to all traffic at the same time as the bridge closure, which was effective November 1.

This intersection, which could have been used as an alternate detour for Stone Mill Road Extension traffic, features a poor Y-shaped alignment, minimal sight distance and poor turning radii, the release said.

The suggested detour for westbound traffic currently using Stone Mill Road Extension and Yates Road is to stay on Routes 9H/23 south and access Routes 9/23 west at the Bells Pond intersection, with eastbound traffic staying on Routes 9/23 west to access Routes 9H/23 north. Appropriate detour and road/bridge closure signing will be posted in the area.

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