Phoenicia bridge can be fixed, Hein says

Above: Video taken by YouTube user mjanensch1 on Monday, August 29, 2011, showing heavy flood damage to Bridge Street and the Bridge Street Bridge in Phoenicia.

Phoenicia's Bridge Street Bridge over the Esopus Creek, knocked out of commission by the Irene floods last summer and thought to be un-fixable, will be put back in service after all, Ulster County officials say.

A press release issued today by the office of Mike Hein, Ulster County executive:

Phoenicia, NY – County Executive Mike Hein is extremely pleased to announce that a preliminary assessment by the independent engineering firm Peak Engineering indicates that the damage caused to the Bridge Street Bridge in Phoenicia by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is not irreparable as originally thought.   As such, the Ulster County Bridge Crew is expected to be able to provide the necessary repairs in order to reopen this vital link to the Hamlet of Phoenicia.

According to County Executive Hein, “Hurricane Irene was the worst natural disaster in our County’s history, causing over $15 million in damages to County infrastructure.  It has been and remains our goal to return life to normal for the Ulster County citizens as quickly as possible and I want to commend the Ulster County Department of Public Works for their tireless efforts rebuilding Ulster County.”  County Executive Hein continued, “I fully recognize the importance of this bridge to the business district and the citizens of Phoenicia.  Its reopening will be another important step toward the County’s overall recovery from Hurricane Irene.  Though there is an extensive amount of work to be done on the Bridge Street Bridge, we look forward to celebrating its reopening by July 4th weekend.”

“The Town of Shandaken is ecstatic to hear this news.  This bridge is important to the Phonecia economy,” said Shandaken Town Supervisor Robert Stanley.  “I would like to thank the Ulster County Executive Hein for expediting this process and the Ulster County DPW for all of its hard work.  We look forward to a rejuvenated summer season.”

“I could not have heard better news,” said Dave Pillard owner of the Tender Land Home in Phoenicia.  “I am incredibly grateful to County Executive Hein for making this bridge project a priority.  Fixing this bridge is not just about convenience.  It is critical to the economy of our community and needed as a second means of egress in rainy weather, when other roads flood.  Thank you County Executive Hein!”