July 2, 2003 - The contract for work on the bridges will soon go out to bid, said James Prendergast, member of the Washington County Covered Bridge Advisory Committee.
The contract will include a temporary one-lane bridge to carry traffic until completion of the work on the covered bridge. Construction of the temporary bridge is opposed by Prendergast and others who fear it would slow construction on the covered bridge and add to the cost to save "a couple of minutes" of travel time.
Over $3 million has been set aside to refurbish the Buskirk, Eagleville, and Rexleigh covered bridges. The funds were made available under the National Covered Bridge Preservation Program enacted in 2001.
The Buskirk Covered Bridge was closed to traffic on August 14, 2002 when a severe structural defect was discovered in one of the beams that supports the bridge during a routine annual inspection of the bridge. Washington County engineers decided to close the bridge until repairs could be made.
The 164-foot bridge was built in 1880 using the Howe truss. The bridge spans the Hoosic River serving County Road 103, connecting Rensselaer and Washington Counties.
The bridge was nearly lost in the 1970s when a flood lifted it off its abutments. In the 1990s work was done on the bridge floor installing the planking transversely as was done in the days of the horse and wagon. The refurbishing will include re- flooring the bridge, laying the planking in the direction of traffic flow.
[Thanks to Dick Wilson for forwarding the clipping from the July 2 Rensselaer Times Union - Ed.]