Elmendorf bridge repair design funding approved in Kingston committee

Kingston City Hall

KINGSTON – The finance committee of the Kingston Common Council has unanimously approved a $75,000 bond resolution for the design portion of the repairs to the Elmendorf bridge. 

Construction workers brought suspected damage to the attention of the city’s engineer, John Schultheis, who upon inspection, realized the bridge needed to be shut down immediately.

“The part that you can see while standing underneath the bridge appears to be fine, but when you remove the deck, you see that the heartwood of the beam timber is so rotted out that I was able to scoop it out like mulch,” said Schultheis.

The bridge is moderately traveled and arcs over the rail trail, which the DPW and Schultheis acknowledged could have presented a dangerous situation for travelers, had it not been found when it was.

The estimated cost for a total repair project is approximately $697,000. City Comptroller John Tuey said the city predicts this project will most likely be necessary, but given lack of outside funding and a very modest detour for travelers, it wouldn’t have been prudent to bond for the full amount during a time when all municipalities are feeling financial uncertainty, so they chose to go with just bonding for design. The city currently has the debt allowance to bond for it comfortably.

“At this point, with cash flow, COVID and everything else, I’d prefer not to take money out of the general fund,” said Tuey. “Whatever we borrow for the engineering work and the construction work can be amortized over the length of the entire project,” he said.

Schultheis and the city’s DPW believes this design phase should be completed within two months. During that time, they will investigate all of the many possible approaches they can take for the project, hopefully saving some money from the estimated project cost. 

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