ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the completion of a $1.4 million project to rehabilitate the Route 66 bridge over Kline Kill Creek in the Town of Ghent, Columbia County. The project will ease travel and enhance safety along a well-traveled roadway, which is used extensively by motorists headed to the Columbia County Fair. The project was completed ahead of schedule to ensure the bridge is ready for the start of the Columbia County Fair, which attracts thousands of visitors each year and runs from August 28 through Labor Day in Chatham.
“The rehabilitated Route 66 bridge will improve mobility for the local community and fuel more economic development for the surrounding region,” Governor Cuomo said. “Accessibility is key to the success of events like the Columbia County Fair and for regional vendors who rely on a robust visitor turnout, which is why we have made transportation upgrades a top priority throughout the state.”
As part of the project, the bridge deck, concrete approach slabs, bearings and bridge rails were completely replaced. There were also minor steel and substructure repairs utilizing 100 percent American steel. The enhancements modernized the structure and provided a smoother riding surface that will facilitate the flow of people and commerce throughout the region for years to come.
In 2017, Governor Cuomo awarded $5 million to county and youth fairs across the State through the 2017 Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program. The funding was divided equally among the State’s 52 eligible local fairs, with each receiving an award of $96,153 to offset the cost of improvements and renovation projects, including new construction, that support New York’s agricultural industry. The Columbia County Fair replaced its aging poultry building and improved handicap accessibility and energy efficiency to its administration building with the state grant funds.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The Columbia County Fair is a wonderful, fun-filled event that draws visitors from across the region and beyond. Completion of the Route 66 Bridge Project ensures that a vital access route to the fairgrounds will be open and ready for the start of festivities, and that fairgoers can spend more time enjoying all the activities that the Fair has to offer instead of navigating time-consuming detours.”
Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We are pleased that this important project has been completed in time for the Columbia County Fair. The bridge improvement will make it easier for visitors to get to the fair and enjoy all of the family fun and educational activities highlighting New York State’s agricultural traditions, including some new additions that we have been proud to support through the Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program. We thank DOT and encourage Columbia County residents and visitors to experience all that the fair has to offer.”
Senator Daphne Jordan said, “The opening of the Route 66 Bridge Over Kline Kill Creek ahead of schedule and on-time for the upcoming Columbia County Fair is great news for families who will soon be attending the fair. The completion of this $1.4 million rehabilitation project marks another important, long-term, significant investment that will enhance our infrastructure. I thank DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez for the DOT’s ongoing commitment to recognizing and being so responsive to meeting the transportation needs of our community.”
Assembly Member Didi Barrett said, “The reopened Route 66 bridge will enable residents and tourists to travel safely and efficiently across the county. With the Columbia County Fair right around the corner, families from all over the Hudson Valley will be able to enjoy this beloved summer tradition without a lengthy detour. Many thanks to DOT for completing this project in a timely fashion; I will continue working in Albany to secure continuing investment in our local infrastructure.”
Ghent Town Supervisor Michael Benvenuto said, “I know that residents who live along the detour have endured a major increase in traffic, and a few local businesses have had to endure the bridge closing, but we are very pleased now that this project has been completed as promised. The bridge, which was last refurbished approximately four decades ago, will now be ready for Fair traffic and for school to restart. I would like to thank NYSDOT, in particular Dean VanAlstyne for maintaining communication, and to the contractor for completing as planned, congratulations.”
Village of Chatham Mayor John Howe said, “As Village of Chatham Mayor, I would like to acknowledge the cooperation and information sharing that we have received from the Town of Ghent, NYSDOT and the construction team during this entire project. The fact that this project was finished ahead of schedule, on budget and with the least amount of disruption speaks volumes to the planning that went into this project.”
Columbia County Fair Manager Angelo Nero said, “We are extremely happy that the Route 66 Bridge will be open in time for our Fair. This is great news not only for fairgoers but our agricultural producers and vendors. We encourage local residents and their families to come enjoy our fair and see the great work that agriculture does right in their own back yard.”
Route 66 was closed while the bridge deck was replaced. An off-site detour was in place from the end of June.
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in work zones. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.
For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit the 511 website here, or download the free 511NY app.
For more information about the Columbia County Fair, please visit: https://www.columbiafair.com/
–The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
For more articles out of New York, click here.