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From: "Jim Dent" james DOT dent AT itochu DOT com
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 11:34:59 -0500
Subject: Manchester, NY
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Manchester, NY, in better days, was the site of a large LV yard and

=46rom the Ontario County NY Daily Messenger...

Photo caption - The railroad bridge over Route 21 in Manchester has long
aggravated area residents because of its ugly graffiti =97 including
four-letter curse words. (Messenger Post photo by Jack Haley)

MANCHESTER - The Ontario County Board of Supervisors may give the go-ahea
Thursday to replace a crumbling railroad bridge in the village of Manches
with a ground-level crossing.

Residents there have lobbied for more than 10 years to get rid of the
graffiti -stained overpass, which spans Route 21 just north of Red Jacket
Central School and the Bliss Shurfine grocery.

"If you could see our file on that bridge," said Manchester Village Clerk
Angela D'Arduini. "It's such an eyesore."

Roger Halderman of 14 Newton St. lives less than a mile from the railroad

"The bridge is in bad shape," said Roger Halderman, historian for the Leh
Railroad Historical Society. He said he remembers when the bridge was
installed in 1936. Thirty to 40 trains would pass through daily during th
Lehigh Valley Railroad's heyday. Now a handful pass each week.

Jeremy Ayres, general manager of R.B. Crowell-Thompson Grain, on the west
side of the overpass, also favors the crossing.

"The railroad is not the problem; it's the street," he noted. The only
access his trucks have to the business from the south is Merrick Avenue.
said he sometimes has as many as 50 trucks per day going in and out of hi
grain business.

"Instead of making a 270 degree turn from Route 21 onto Merrick Circle, j
north of the underpass, eliminating the bridge would allow for a 'T' in t
road, opening up access to the development," Ayres said. "It would solve
problem and my neighbors' problems."

But the vice president and general manager of the Ontario Central Railroa
takes a different view.

There are drawbacks to putting the railroad at ground level, said Don Bro
who has been in the railroad business 22 years. "There's a potential for
collision," he said.

The crossing train would have to sound a whistle, Brown said, possibly
disrupting the neighborhood. As well, he said, traffic would be delayed
during the switching of rail-cars. He added that his freight business has
been increasing, and the train will probably soon pass more than the curr
six trips a week.

"Anytime you can separate the highway and the railroad, it's a benefit to
the safety and convenience of the public," he said.

The Ontario Central Railroad covers 13 miles, between Victor and
Shortsville. The county owns the land and rails, said Brown. He said he h
an operating agreement with the county.

Manchester Town Supervisor Bill Eddinger said a crossing would save
taxpayers' money over the long run.

"Some parts (of the bridge) are defying the laws of physics," agreed
Manchester Town Supervisor Bill Eddinger. "You go to ground level and
(bridge maintenance) is over."

According to Bill Wright, county public works commissioner, rebuilding th
bridge and underpass, in a similar design, could cost as much as $1 milli
While annual maintenance on the bridge costs a few thousand dollars, he
said, the rehab work that would have to be done every 10 years or so coul
amount to about $100,000. Lighting, drainage, concrete and railing repair
would be avoided by putting the crossing at ground level, he said.

"If I can eliminate that bridge, then I have eliminated cost to the count
taxpayer," he said.

If the plan is approved, Bergmann Associates of Rochester would perform
general engineering services, collect data and do right-of-way
investigations at a cost not to exceed $105,349. That information would b
used to seek approvals from the state for the project, which could take s
to nine months.

The federal government would pay 80 percent of the cost for the entire
project, which would include engineering, construction and inspection cos
The state would pay 15 percent, and the county would put in 5 percent.

Nancy Johnson, a member of the Manchester Village Planning Board, said he
concern is mainly aesthetic.

"It's scary," she said, referring to the sight travelers get crossing und
the bridge on the Route 21. "It's not the kind of image we want to projec

Despite the look of the bridge, Brown said, it passes yearly inspections
was "found to be structurally sound."


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