Rensselaer Falls Bridge Could Open This Week

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Robert Chapin has been struggling to make ends meet at the small store he operates.

Not only has he been facing a sluggish economy, but his business has also seen a drop in traffic in the six months the village's bridge has been closed for replacement.

"We have lost 32 percent of our business. Now, it's not all the bridge. There's other factors in there, but it's about a third of our business," said Chapin.
 
The bridge was supposed to reopen at the end of November as part of a $3 million replacement project.

However, a sewer pipe attached to the underside of the bridge malfunctioned during a pressure test causing a delay.

"There wasn't enough bracing originally designed in the project and we found that out when we did the pressure test and the pipe went all over so we had to repair the pipe and install more bracing," said St. Lawrence County Highway Superintendent Toby Bogart.
 
While the bridge has been closed, residents have been separated from the downtown section of the community with motorists having to travel a nearly seven mile detour to get to the post office or a handful of businesses.

The delay in the bridge's reopening may not seem like a big deal but for a business, like Chapin's Country Market, every day the bridge remains closed hurts.

"We need every dollar that we can coax in here," said Chapin.
 
While a new pressurized test on the sewage pipe was successful, all that remains to be done now is the installation of guide rails.
 
If all goes well, traffic will be moving across the bridge spanning the Oswegatchie River later this week.            

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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