Facelift Ahead for Hooper Road Bridge

By Erika Mahoney

January 30, 2013 Updated Jan 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Department of Public Works officials say more than 9,000 cars travel on the Hooper Road Bridge over State Route 17C everyday.

The bridge hasn't undergone any significant repair work since its original construction in 1946.

However, its sister bridge, which crosses over Norfolk Southern Railroad, was repaired in 2007.

Now, DPW officials say it's time for the section over 17C to undergo a facelift.

"Over the years, things are getting lower and lower rankings because it's getting older and older," said Leslie Boulton, Deputy Commissioner of Engineering for the Department of Public Works. "And it's a very important bridge because the traffic is very high. So you want to get in there before you have any really serious problems."

On Tuesday, two different construction options were presented to the public.

Both options are competitive in price. Officials estimate the project will cost around $1.2 million. Federal aid will fund 80 percent of the project, the state will cover 15 percent and the county will cover the remaining 5 percent.

The main difference between the options is construction time.

The first option involves conventional construction and will take an estimated four to five months. Only one lane of traffic at a time will be closed during the construction.

The second option involves accelerated bridge construction and could take just two to four weeks. But both lanes will be closed during construction.

Nearly everyone who attended the meeting said they prefer the latter especially with construction planned for the spring or summer of 2014.

"The two-to-four week option seems much better than the four or five months option considering we have the Dick's Sporting Goods Open and we also have the fireworks at the top of Hooper Road in the middle of July," said Stephen Shimer, who lives on Hooper Road. "Four to five months would really be a traffic problem for that."

A member of the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad said off camera he agrees with the second option. He said he hopes the county can put up a light at the intersection to help stop traffic when they need to get through.

Officials said they appreciate the feedback, and that they'll use it to come back with more details.

Another public meeting is scheduled for sometime in March. A time has not been announced.