Brindley Street Bridge Drawings

David Kennicutt of Delta Architects presenting options for the Brindley Street bridge reconstruction at the Planning & Economic Development committee meeting, Feb. 10, 2016. 

A new bridge is in the works for Ithaca's West End, one of its most congested traffic areas. 

Plans were presented on Wednesday to replace the Brindley Street bridge twice at City Hall by engineers from Delta Engineers, Architects, & Land Surveyors, of Endwell. 

Brindley Street, for those who don't know, is the street connecting the intersection where West Seneca and State/MLK come together on Inlet Island with Taber Street, by the Aeroplane Factory. The Brindley Street bridge is the one-lane bridge there that crosses the Inlet next to Trombley Tire. The bridge was built in 1938, and hasn't been significantly restored since 1952. 

Delta project manager David Kennicutt told citizens who attended an afternoon information session and the Planning & Economic Development committee that the "preferred alternative" for the project is a 115 foot bridge that would be on the other side of Trombley Tire and connect to Taughannock Boulevard at State Street over the first Jungle, the outdoor living encampment. A newly signalized intersection would be placed at Taughannock and State.

Because of the "'intersection geometry" where Brindley meets Seneca and State streets, there are "a lot of accidents, much higher than there should be due to the weird configuration there," Kennicutt said. "It's really a six-legged intersection if you count Pete's grocery there."

The new bridge connecting Taughannock Boulevard to Taber Street would be expected to reduce much of the traffic from the intersection by Pete's. It's drawn up at 34 feet wide, with five foot sidewalks. One of the Delta engineers said it will require about a dozen piles on each end driven to about 50 feet, because the "soil is really bad." The old Brindley bridge would be left standing as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. 

Dave Nutter, a Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Council member, wrote in an email to the Ithaca West listhost that he supports the Taughannock extension, while encouraging the driving lanes be narrowed from 12 feet to 10 feet to give more room for bike lanes. Nutter also suggested a crosswalk be placed at the currently informal pathway leading through the former Jungle to Cecil A. Malone Drive, and that the pathway be paved and formalized for pedestrian and bicycle use. 

"I think we should look at the former Jungle area as an amenity and resource rather than a sort of backwater that tends to draw in illicit uses," Alderperson Cynthia Brock said at the night meeting. 

Greg Perreault, who has worked at Vector Magnetics on Cherry Street since 1989, suggested a new left turn lane on Taughannock Boulevard at State Street to relieve congestion there. Delta representatives said there was still time to study how the changes might affect traffic at other intersections, like Buffalo and Taughannock. 

If all goes as planned, Kennicutt said the project will go to enviromental review this summer, preliminary design by fall 2016, and award the project in fall 2017, with construction in 2018. 

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