OSWEGO, NY ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Oh, happy day.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The new bridge on Route 104 over the Oswego River will officially open on Monday.
Local and state officials ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ along with scores of Oswegonians ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ gathered today (Nov. 9) for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the approximately $10 million bridge replacement project.
After the ceremonial ribbon was snipped, the Oswego High School Marching Buccaneers lead a parade from the west end of the new bridge to the east side.
The new bridge is “a symbol of OswegoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s commercial and economic resurgence,” according to Mayor Randy Bateman.
“Bridges are connections that link commercial, community, and cultural traffic and with the reopening of the Route 104 Bridge, Oswego now has both bridges to ensure that bond,” he told the large crowd assembled on the bridge just east of Water Street.
He thanked the state for investing more than $10 million in the city’s new bridge.
He also cited Sen. Darrel Aubertine and Assemblyman Will Barclay for their efforts and support on behalf of the city.
And, he thanked the citizens and business owners for being patient during the bridge work.
The old bridge was closed on April 1 for dismantling and removal.
“I want to thank all of the citizens of the city of Oswego and the surrounding community. You have shown great patience and strength of character with all of the inconveniences that the closing of the Route 104 Bridge has meant to all of us,” the mayor said. “We planned our trips, we rode our bikes, we walked, we shopped local, and we made the best of a bad situation.”
“Having a safe, reliable transportation system is vital to the entire state,” said NYS DOT Regional Director Carl Ford.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â “In a port city like Oswego, it’s even more essential. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis bridge project is a great example of what can happen when state and local governments work together. That cooperative effort, and the efficient work of our prime contractor, Vector Corporation, has combined to bring us to this day, ahead of schedule. This project provides safe, convenient passage on an attractive new bridge over the Oswego River, while connecting the city and helping to improve and modernize the Route 104 corridor.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
When the bridge opens Monday, it is estimated that about 18,000 vehicles will cross it each and every day, he added.
“We’re very happy to get that traffic rolling earlier than anticipated,” he said. “We trust this bridge will serve the people of Oswego for many years to come.”
While it may have been difficult at times, because of the great collaboration between so many city departments, businesses and citizens, “We were able to make this as painless as possible,” Jennifer Hill, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, said.
Mercedes Niess said the new bridge “adds character and a charm to the city.”
“This really adds a lot to our city,” she said. “Everyone, from the local level all the way to the state, worked well together and even finished ahead of schedule.”
“It’s a beautiful bridge. They have done a wonderful job,” added George Reed.
The first bridge, constructed in the 19th century, crossed the Oswego River with a swing bridge and a pivot draw span to allow ships and barges to navigate the river. It was only 40 feet wide.
The second bridge, constructed in 1911 on the original piers, eliminated the draw bridge and widened the bridge to 64 feet.
In 1968, the bridge was totally reconstructed with new piers that raised the deck 3.5 feet on the east side and 1.25 feet on the west side of the bridge to accommodate shipping and barge traffic.
Prior to the official grand opening ceremony of that bridge, a young man drove his vehicle across the bridge and back again.
“I drove across and then came back. A couple hours later (a police officer) stopped me. He told me I wasn’t the first guy to go over, but I was the first to go both ways. I said, ‘what do you mean?’ and he said, ‘ Well, the first guy to go over, we threw in jail,'” Dave White recalled with a laugh.
This bridge should last for a very long time, Ford said.
“It should be around for a good long time. The decks are designed to last 50 years,” he told Oswego County Today. “In reality, this is a brand new bridge; I would expect it to last much longer.”
The project went smoothly, he said, thanks to the cooperation and good job by all of the city departments involved in the project.