Elmira officials share updates on Water Street, bridge construction

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Andy Avery, Public Works Commissioner at Chemung County and the City of Elmira, provided 18 News an update on many of the major projects happening in downtown Elmira and across the county.

W. Water Street Construction

Avery says construction on the W. Water Street project is “moving forward.” The city hopes to start installing curb on the southside of the road next week and possibly in the median area as well.

The city is targeting completion on the project for mid-summer 2021, which is in line with the July 30 timeline outlined by Avery in April.

All of the water main work under the road has been completed, and Spectrum/Charter began the relocation of their cable and fiber lines in March.

According to the city’s website, the West Water Street Improvement Project will improve pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, as well as the safety of pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle traffic.

“A lot of dust, a lot of inconvenience, but it is moving forward and should have a nice project when all’s said and done,” said Avery.

Funding for revamping the West Water Street corridor comes from the Federal Highway Administration, City of Elmira, New York State Department of Transportation, Elmira Water Board, and a portion of the $10 million Elmira received in 2016 from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Lake Street Pedestrian Bridge

The Lake Street Bridge is scheduled for completion in the late summer or fall of 2021. Parts of the bridge have been narrowed and the old deck is being removed. A new wearing surface will be installed for walking and bike paths and planters will also be installed.

City officials have told 18 News that the bridge could eventually be used for events such as farmers markets or craft fairs.

Elmira’s Lake Street Bridge to become a pedestrian bridge

In June 2018 the city released plans to turn the bridge into a pedestrian walkway with the following goals:

  • Structural rehabilitation
  • Ped & Bike connection on the bridge
  • Connect two City parks
  • Connection from Pennsylvania Ave to NYS Bike Route 17 at E. Water St
  • Create a focal point/gateway as part of Elmira’s Downtown Revitalization

The original plan from 2018 projected construction to start in 2020.

Main Street Bridge

Crews are currently removing the deck of the Main Street Bridge and will be repairing bearings and beams. The contractor is putting in a new deck and wearing surface, as well as re-installing the railings.

Pedestrians illegally using Clemens Center Parkway Bridge to cross the Chemung River

Avery says completion of the Main Street Bridge is projected to be in late 2021 “due to a late start for the contractor.”

Lowman Crossover

The Lowman Crossover project is also continuing with the removal of the superstructure for replacement with steel beams. Avery says the Lowman Crossover should be reopened around Thanksgiving 2021.

Replacement of the Wellsburg-Lowman Crossover Bridge began on April 26, according to Chemung County Legislator Rodney Strange due to “structural deficiencies.”

State and federal funding to replace the bridge was secured last year for the $3.2 million project.

Future Projects

Avery acknowledged that a lot of construction is going on in downtown Elmira between the bridges, West Water Street, and the rehabilitation of the Centertown Parking Garage.

“It is going to get some holes cut into all of the stairwells and it will be lit up,” said 2nd District Councilman Brent Stermer. “Each floor will be color-coded and symbol-coded.”

Clemens Square improvements substantially complete

The city will also soon be seeking bids for a Downtown Revitalization Grant project at Mark Twain River Front Park, according to Avery. Plans for the park include the development of a boardwalk, fountain plaza, seating, and landscape behind an existing floodwall along the Chemung River 

For Chemung County, bids will be sought for the connector road project in Horseheads. Bidding is open for replacing the Pennsylvania Ave. bridge over Seely Creek and five bids have been submitted, four of which are below estimate.

“A lot going on around the county. It’s good to see this much investigment whether it’s local dollars or state or federal dollars, weve been very forunate.”

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