Work by the Town of Dryden Highway Department is progressing on renovation for trail use of the two timber-trestle railroad bridges near Game Farm Road.

Work by the Town of Dryden Highway Department is progressing on renovation for trail use of the two timber-trestle railroad bridges near Game Farm Road.

 

A previous version of this article stated that the Town of Dryden is "planning on donating $250,000 to $300,000 from the annual budget" to the bridge project. The town will not be making such an allocation. The town did make a one-time allocation of $200,000 as a local-match backstop, which was a requirement for one of the grants it received. The town plans to fund that local match with money from other grants. The Courier regrets the error.

The Town of Dryden is moving forward with its project to construct a pedestrian-bicycle bridge over State Route 13 that would connect two portions of the Dryden Rail Trail and provide a safe alternative for trail goers to cross the highway.

Members of the Dryden Rail Trail Taskforce and the Town Council held a public open house at the Neptune Hose Co. #1 fire station on June 30 to present the details of the project to interested members of the community while also answering any questions they may have. 

The bridge will be a 110-foot single span steel structure built on new concrete abutment with concrete wingwalls, featuring shallow foundations. Along the bridge will be a 10-foot wide stone dust trail running from Monkey Run Road to Hallwoods Road, which will be constructed on a former rail bed corridor not adjacent to the highway as well as carried over Route 13 via the bridge.

Director of Planning Ray Burger said he received comments from residents in favor and against the project at the open house this past Wednesday. He said the majority of those who disagree say so because they believe it is not fair to take pieces of private property and diminish the level of privacy for the owners. (The town needs to obtain two easements for two small pieces of land – 0.71 acres of a private property and 0.16 acres of a commercial property – and recently decided to contract with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to have them manage the land acquisition process.)

“We evaluated 13 different alternatives as far as how to do this, and this was picked in part because … by the time [the trail] gets down to here, it’s about a five-foot high trail,” Burger said. “They’ll be pretty well screened by the existing vegetation, and we’re as far away as we can pull the trail.”

Burger also said there should not be any issues securing the 0.16 acres of the land on the commercial property since “it’s not critical to [the owner’s] use there.”

The rail trail task force did examine other options aside from placing a bridge over Route 13, though the bridge proved to be the superior choice by the end. A tunnel was looked at, but was ultimately casted aside because of its higher cost. Two above-ground detours were also considered – one travel up to the intersection near the NYSEG building and the other going over Fall Creek Bridge. Burger said the former presented multiple challenges.

“Going up there was a large detour to make and also the intersection is already looked on as confusing,” he said. “So adding more pedestrian and bicycle [crossings] would just make it even more difficult, and it’s already considered kind of a hazardous intersection.”

With the latter, he said the consensus was that it would not entice people to not cross Route 13. 

“Going down the Fall Creek bridge was again looked at, but the distance – a 0.6-mile detour – was deemed as people still want to take the shortcut,” he said. “That’s just human nature, too. You don’t want to add points of miles to your trip.”

The bridge will be constructed beforehand and then dropped into its location; it’s unclear at this point how this would impact traffic.

The entire project is expected to cost $2.9 million. The town has already raised $2 million of that total through grants and is looking to apply for more grant funding in the future, according to Burger. In terms of scheduling, the completion of a detailed design of the bridge is set for June 2022. Construction would begin the following month that year and finish in July 2023.

(4) comments

Ellen Hale

I am completely opposed to this bridge project! Mr Burger's comment, "Burger also said there should not be any issues securing the 0.16 acres of the land on the commercial property since “it’s not critical to [the owner’s] use there.” is appalling! Who is he to decide how the property owner's use of property?!

The reasoning that using the existing trail under the Fall Creek Bridge adds too much distance is ridiculous. The Rail Trail has been 'sold' as a recreation trail. Another 0.6 miles is problem? Spending 2.9 million (only 2 million of which is covered) when there is an attractive available option is a complete waste of taxpayer's money.

No one has answered who's responsible for year round maintenance. Their documents assure the bridge will be well maintained and cleared of snow in winter. By whom? For how much?

The owner of the residential property did agree to an easement in 2016. The revised plan is substantially different from the plan that was agreed to and no longer was acceptable as it requires a handicapped access ramp that rises up beside the property allowing all users to stare down into their windows. Now they are foisting their problem onto NYSDOT to use eminent domain.

At he Open House on June 30, 2021,TRail representatives lied to when they assured that the properties had already been acquired and they said they had not been able to contact the residential owner. Said owner had several conversations with Mr. Beck and was then contacted by a Town Board member, then by a lawyer trying to buy the property for an unnamed 'client'.

Bob Beck

Just to be clear, the out-of-town owner of the residential rental property has not yet responded, for well over 16 months, to good faith efforts by representatives of the Town of Dryden through voice mail, email and USPS mail, to requests for a conversation about plans for the Route 13 pedestrian bridge. We have been unable to talk with the owner about our extensive efforts working with project engineers to protect the residential property, to restrict the area needed for the ramp to the bridge, to contain it close to the highway, while curving it quickly, entirely off the residential property. Our lines for communication are always open.

Harmony Borchardt-Wier

Is there a map anywhere showing the exact location the bridge will be? I'm imagining it either replacing or being pretty much next to the rail bridge that's already crossing HW 13 in Varna (the "FH Fox" bridge).

Harmony Borchardt-Wier

...it has just occurred to me that I was thinking rt 366, not 13. So now I'm REALLY confused about where the proposed bridge location will be. Somewhere between the intersection of Lower Creek Road and Nyseg?

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