By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Albion Village Board gave the go ahead, by a 3-2 vote Wednesday, for a new and final plan for the Clarendon Street Bridge Project.
The new bridge, which village officials said would be funded in large part by a decade-old federal and state commitment, replaces an aging span over the Brockport-to-Lockport rail line that cuts across the village.
Under the plan, approved by Mayor Dean Theodorakos and Trustees Kevin Sheehan and Peter Sidari, a high-span bridge would be constructed. No alterations would be made to Crimson Road, which intersects with Clarendon Street just south of the existing bridge.
Theodorakos said the village will now have to approve the preliminary bridge design, which has a slightly lower clearance and shorter embankment than in previous plans. Construction could begin in 2015.
Theodorakos said ensuring the governmental financing for the $2.3 million project is a key concern, but he added that an alternative of inaction was unacceptable.
“If we do nothing we risk the money being taken back,” Theodorakos said. “I don’t want an old bridge rotting in the middle of town.”
The village has already spent a total in the six figures since the project was initiated more than a decade ago. During the lengthy discussion, Theodorakos noted that the project predates any of the current board member’s tenures. It has been a constant on board agendas under old business — really old business — for years, with little progress.
“I’ve shepherded this for five years,” Theodorakos, exasperated, said at one point. “If we don’t do something, I’m giving up.”
In recent months, the scale of the project and the realities of the bridge’s utility have come into focus.
The cost estimate of the project was recently raised from $1.9 million, which Trustee Fred Miller said would likely mean the village would pay for the project long after rail traffic through Albion ends.
Miller and Trustee Eileen Banker favored closing the bridge with the intention of eventually constructing a roadway with an at-grade railroad crossing. Miller said that would cost a fraction of the approved project.
“It’s not a high priority traffic area, maybe 10 trains a week,” Miller said. “We could put in a road at a smaller expense.”
Banker said she didn’t favor a project that would require landowners to give easements for a new bridge.
Sheehan and Sidari were more optimistic about the need for the bridge.
“It’s there, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but this wouldn’t be a new structure,” Sidari said.
“We’re on our third option now ... let’s get this done,” Sheehan said before making the motion to vote on the project.”Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.