Town Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds gets out of a bulldozer and walks over, proud as punch. “Rock and rollers…this is the first time we ever done one,” he’s saying, nodding towards a system of concrete supports with roll bars that will extend the temporary bridge the town is renting for the next nine months into place over the coming days. “The old bridge had been downgraded to five tons, which is too low for most fuel trucks, emergency vehicles, and such things. We had to do something…”
Reynolds nodded towards a young man with his hands in his hip pockets, overlooking the burly Woodstock road crew. Said his name was Zach Williams of Acrow Bridge, the New Jersey company from which they had gotten the span — in pieces —just the day before.
“We just started working on this, this morning. Got the site prepped during the fall with 11 feet footings, poured concrete walls with rebar. We used what the county uses for its abutments,” he continued. “In the past we would have just put a road in across the creek, but the DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) frowns on that now. And besides, we had two floods already since starting this job, back on October 1 and December 1. We would have had to replace whatever crossing we put in twice already…”
Reynolds pointed to where the old bridge still stands. Its abutments were weakened by increasing floods of recent years. Once the new span was in, he was planning to get in and start working on things over the winter, the better to get things done fast come summer. New abutments, new beams, new decking.
What was being worked on now should be sent across the river Wednesday, with decking put on later in the week…given there was no bad weather, Reynolds added.
He said that of five homes up Van Hoagland Road, two were year-round. And both of them were being very cooperative with the Woodstock Highway Department’s efforts, keeping cars on either side of their old and new spans while they were closed for the time being.
Moreover, Reynolds talked about how much fun he and his crew were having, working together and alongside county employees sent with equipment lent the town for the job.
“It’s not the same old thing, and everyone likes that fact,” he said. “It’s not plowing snow or cutting brush, but something we can all be proud of.”
He looked out as everyone gathered around some new pieces being fit together.
Mike Reynolds smiled, broadly.
“It’s just like a giant erector set,” he said. ++