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Aug. 2, 2007

Mid-Hudson Bridges Safe

Highland, NY - In light of the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the NYS Bridge Authority said its five bridges and six spans across the Hudson River are in good shape and regularly inspected.

“We’ve received a few calls, and I know others are concerned, so we want to assure Hudson Valley residents that our bridges are well maintained, safe and in excellent condition,” Authority Chairman Jim Sproat said today.

Each bridge receives a full inspection every two years under federal and state guidelines and the Bridge Authority goes a step further by having that inspection report updated every year.  The last full Biennial Inspection Report for each bridge was completed in 2006 and 2007 updates are ongoing.

“We’re pleased to report that all five bridges received a rating of ‘good condition’ and ‘functioning as designed’, the highest rating that can be achieved for anything but a brand new bridge”, Sproat said.

Bridge inspections are performed by independent engineers from Modjeski & Masters Engineering, a national firm with over a century of experience in bridge design, engineering and inspections.

Barney Martin, Senior Vice-President for Modjeski & Masters said, “The five state Bridge Authority bridges are among the best maintained in the nation.  The Bridge Authority’s policy of pro-active maintenance and their extensive program results in problems being prevented rather than reacting after problems develop.”

The federal rating scale for bridges is a 7-point system where 7 is a brand new bridge and 1 means a bridge should be closed.  The highest rating for a well maintained older bridge is “5”.   The Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges all rated “5”.

In addition, underwater pier inspections are performed every five years.  The state laws making this a legal requirement were modeled after NYSBA’s long-standing practice.   NYSBA also performs other inspections not required by law, such as ultrasonic inspections of steel integrity in hinge pin connections.

Background information on New York State Bridge Authority Bridges

Bear Mountain Bridge - Opened 1924
2006 Traffic – 6,416,620

Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
North Span - Opened 1963
South Span – Opened 1980
2006 Traffic - 25,110,664

Mid-Hudson Bridge -             Opened 1930
2006 Traffic – 14,013,838

Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge - Opened 1957
2006 Traffic – 7,624,622

Rip Van Winkle Bridge - Opened 1935
2006 Traffic – 5,494,308

 

Quick Facts about the New York State Bridge Authority

  • The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges.
  • The Authority is funded from bridge tolls and receives no tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.
  • The Authority holds the highest bond rating given any toll-transportation entity in the United States, reducing bond and annual costs.
  • The $1 passenger vehicle toll for east-bound passage on all Authority bridges is among the lowest nationwide for self-supporting transportation agencies(there is no toll for west-bound passage).
  • Tolls today are actually lower, in real dollars, than they were in 1932 when the Authority was founded.
  • The Authority’s employee safety record has resulted in an “unusually high discount” from the state insurance fund, protecting workers and reducing costs
  • Accidents on Authority bridges in 2006 were among the lowest in recent history, resulting in one accident for every 343,000 crossing.