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      14 percent of NYS rural bridges are structurally deficient, Madison County's dilemma

      The bad bridge in Madison County.

      A national survey finds 14 percent of rural bridges in New York State are structurally deficient, making it the 17th highest rate in the nation.

      The report by TRIP, a not for profit research group based in Washington DC calls upon Congress to address a pending cash shortfall in the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

      According to Madison County Highway Superintendent Joseph Wisinski, there are 130 rural bridges under his jurisdiction and 18 percent of them are considered deficient. He says the county can't afford to repair or replace all of them on his limited highway maintenance budget. "We're just looking for a way to shift existing monies already there into a designated program so it can be used more efficiently." Wisinski told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon Friday.

      He says M adison County was able to secure $500,000 from the state to pay half the cost of replacing a bridge on Court Street over CSX rail lines. It's north of Wampsville on the main access road to county offices and other important services. But Wisinski feels the state assistance for that rural bridge has become more the exception than the rule. "The state has prioritized it based on their priority rankings and their priority rankings has left out rural bridges."

      N ext month th e Court Street bridge north of Wampsville will shut down for repairs while dozens of other rural bridges will have to wait.