1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Highway
  4. Article 9: Bridges


Section 233 State bridges and culverts

Highway (HAY)

1. The commissioner shall cause an inspection to be made of any state bridge or culvert which is reported to be unsafe for its posted loading by the regional director or the county superintendent or the town superintendent. If such bridge or culvert is found to be unsafe for such posted loading, the commissioner may cause the signs relating to the loading permitted on such bridge or culvert to be modified and it shall be the duty of the regional director in whose region such bridge or culvert is located to immediately make such changes in the signs posted on the bridge or culvert as the commissioner may order, and at the same time the regional director shall notify those responsible for the maintenance of the bridge or culvert of such action. After such inspection, the bridge or culvert shall have the same status with respect to maintenance and liability as it had prior to the inspection. Any inspection of a bridge performed pursuant to this section shall be performed in accordance with the provisions of sections two hundred thirty-one and two hundred thirty-two of this article.

  2. The commissioner may, by an official order, close any state bridge or culvert and notify the regional director, the county superintendent, the town superintendent and the supervisor of the town of that fact, and if such bridge or culvert is located in more than one town or county, the county superintendent, town superintendent and supervisor of each town, respectively, shall have like notice. After the closing of any such bridge or culvert, the commissioner shall cause to be erected conspicuous signs to the effect that the bridge or culvert is closed to all traffic, and shall cause to be erected barricades of a type approved by the commissioner. Neither the state nor any other public entity shall be responsible for any damages which may result to any vehicle or to any person entering on or traveling over such bridge or culvert after the erection of such barricades and signs.

  The commissioner may take over, by official order, any bridge or culvert located on the state highway system, for the purpose of repairing, altering or reconstructing the structure as provided in this section, and shall thereupon notify the regional director, the county superintendent of each county or counties and the town superintendent and supervisor of each town or towns in which such bridge or culvert is located by mailing to each of them a copy of said official order. Any bridge or culvert, except as hereinafter provided, either closed or taken over by official order as above authorized shall be maintained, repaired, reconstructed, or a bridge or culvert constructed on new location at the sole expense of the state from the time of such condemnation or taking over, and the commissioner of transportation shall supervise such maintenance, repair, reconstruction, or construction of a new bridge or culvert on a new location, and may pay the cost of same from any funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction and construction of state highways and bridges. The commissioner is hereby authorized to make surveys and designs for any bridge or culvert located on the state system of highways prior to its being taken over by official order as authorized in this section, and may pay the cost of same from any funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction and construction of state highways and bridges.

  After the closing or taking over by official order of any bridge or culvert located on the state system of highways, such bridge or culvert shall be deemed to be a part of the highway on which such bridge or culvert is located.

  3. The commissioner may let contracts for the repairing, altering, reconstruction, or constructing on new location, of any bridge or culvert provided for by this section in accordance with the general provisions of section thirty-eight of this chapter, except as hereinafter provided. In the performance of work provided by this section, the commissioner may perform the work by the use of departmental forces and equipment, and purchase materials therefor.

  4. Whenever a portion of a state bridge or culvert is located within the bounds of a city and the commissioner determines that such bridge or culvert should be repaired, altered or reconstructed for public use and travel, he shall prepare plans and specifications therefor which shall show subdivided estimate covering that portion of the bridge or culvert located within such city boundaries and he shall submit such plans and estimate to the city for its examination and the city shall report, within fifteen days, to the commissioner with such recommendations or modifications the city may desire. That portion of the bridge or culvert lying without the city boundaries shall be built and paid for in accordance with this section and that portion of the bridge or culvert lying within the city boundaries shall be paid for wholly by the city. Before advertising a contract for the construction of such a bridge or culvert the commissioner shall submit to the city the amount of the estimated cost of that portion of such bridge or culvert which is to be paid for by the city and the city shall thereupon provide the money therefor and shall deposit such amount with the state department of audit and control to be paid out by it on the audit and warrant of the comptroller on vouchers therefor approved by the commissioner. Any such city is hereby authorized to provide the means for obtaining such money including the raising of all or part of such sums pursuant to the local finance law. The commissioner shall authorize and supervise the maintenance of that portion of a bridge or culvert located within the bounds of a city and shall pay for the cost of such maintenance in the first instance from the funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction and construction of state highways and bridges, but the city shall, within three months after the receipt of a detailed statement from the commissioner showing the city's share of the cost of such maintenance work, deposit money equal to the cost of such work with the state. This subdivision shall not apply to bridges heretofore acquired or constructed which have previously been maintained by the state, nor to bridges built pursuant to special acts of the legislature. Any bridge located partly within a city constructed and paid for solely through the use of federal funds shall have the same status with respect to maintenance and reconstruction as if such bridge had been constructed under the provisions of this section without the use of such federal funds, and any bridge located wholly within a city so constructed through the use of such federal funds shall be maintained and reconstructed at the sole expense of the city.

  5. The commissioner of transportation may provide, in carrying out the provisions of this section, for additional width of a bridge or culvert, extra sidewalk facilities or approaches, more expensive design, or other features not essential for highway traffic when so requested by the local municipality or municipalities provided such local municipality or municipalities defray the additional cost thereof in the same manner and under the same provisions of the highway law that they defray additional cost of widening or building more expensive types of pavements on highways. In such cases, the local municipality or municipalities shall petition by resolution for such betterment, and shall deposit the necessary additional funds with the state comptroller in a manner similar to that provided in section forty-six of this chapter.

  6. The commissioner of transportation, when requested by a municipality, public utility company, private corporation, or individual, may provide facilities in bridge or culvert construction for carrying conduits, cables, water pipes and the like. The expense of installing such facilities shall be borne by the municipality, company, corporation or person desiring the same, and the total estimated cost thereof shall be as estimated or determined by the commissioner of transportation prior to the award of a contract including the construction of such facilities in the same manner as provided in section forty-six of the highway law. The commissioner of transportation may, except as to a public utility company having a franchise for the use of such a public road or highway, require and is hereby authorized to fix an annual rental price to be paid to the state by such municipality, corporation, company or individual as compensation for the use of said facilities, provided, and according to terms and conditions as prescribed by him.

  7. In reconstructing a bridge or culvert under this section, the commissioner of transportation shall remove and dispose of all old steel, masonry and lumber through his agent, employees, contractors, or otherwise, unless the municipality or municipalities owning the bridge or culvert notifies the commissioner of transportation in writing that it desires to salvage such structure and will remove and dispose of the same at a time and in a manner satisfactory to and as directed by the commissioner of transportation.

  8. In the construction of bridges or culverts, within the meaning of this section, the right of way necessary for the construction of a temporary road and a temporary bridge or culvert, if necessary, during the construction of the new structure, shall be acquired in accordance with the provisions of section thirty of the highway law, as hereinafter provided.

  9. In the construction of bridges or culverts within the meaning of this section, the commissioner of transportation may provide one or more sidewalks upon the same and upon the approaches thereto, when in his judgment the pedestrian traffic is sufficient to warrant such provision.

  10. The provisions of this section shall be deemed to include all work upon the bridge, culvert, temporary bridge or temporary culvert, abutments, piers and guard rails as well as approaches thereto as defined and limited by the commissioner of transportation in each specific case. It shall also be deemed to include all excavation work in the stream channel, protection to the stream banks and other work necessitated by the new bridge or culvert construction, all as the commissioner of transportation shall determine.

  11. The commissioner of transportation may provide in the construction or reconstruction of state highways for the separation of highway grade crossings thereon when in his judgment such separations are necessary for the safety and public welfare of the users thereof. He may also provide for the separation of highway grade crossings involving any state highway with any state or county parkway or drive or with any other public street, avenue or road in conjunction with such other state, county or municipal authority having jurisdiction thereof under such terms and conditions as the commissioner of transportation may impose. Prior to the performance of any work involving an agency other than those under his jurisdiction, the commissioner of transportation shall enter into an agreement with the authority having jurisdiction thereof and such agreement shall indicate the division of costs for the construction and maintenance of the structure and appurtenances. In providing for such separation of grades, the commissioner of transportation may provide for the construction of bridges and lateral drives deemed necessary and may combine such work with additional work to be paid in whole or in part by other state departments, counties or municipalities. The commissioner of transportation is hereby authorized to defray the state's share of the cost of such grade separations from any funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction or construction of state highways and for the construction of state parkways. If such construction requires payment of state funds under the jurisdiction of another state department, such department shall, prior to the award of a contract providing for such construction, certify to the state department of audit and control that it has obligated an amount estimated as necessary therefor by the commissioner of transportation. If such construction requires payment of funds from any county treasury, the board of supervisors of such county shall, by resolution, make available to the requisition of the commissioner of transportation an amount estimated as necessary therefor by the commissioner of transportation prior to the award of a contract providing for such construction. If such construction requires payment of funds from any other agency for any purpose connected with such construction, such funds, based upon estimates prepared by the commissioner of transportation shall be deposited prior to the award of a contract providing for such construction with the state department of audit and control to be paid out by the comptroller on vouchers therefor approved by the commissioner of transportation. If upon the completion of the work, a balance of funds so deposited with the department of audit and control shall remain unexpended such balance shall be returned to the agency making such deposit. In contract work, monthly estimates shall be made as the work progresses which shall show the subdivision of costs to the participating agencies on such form as the state comptroller may determine, copies of which may be furnished such agencies participating in the cost of the work. Cost of engineering shall be deemed a participating part of the expense in the proportions fixed by the commissioner of transportation .

  12. Whenever in the construction, reconstruction or improvement of a state highway it is found advisable to change the course of a stream channel so that it will not cross and recross the highway but will cross any public road, highway or street, the commissioner of transportation may include in the highway construction or reconstruction or improvement contract plans for the construction of a bridge or culvert and necessary approaches thereto over said changed course of the stream channel to carry any such public road, highway or street over such changed course of the stream channel. The cost of the construction of such bridge or culvert and the approaches thereto shall be paid by the state out of any funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction or construction of state highways and bridges. After the completion and acceptance of such bridge or culvert, the cost of the maintenance thereof shall be under the authority of the agency having jurisdiction over the public road, highway or street upon which such bridge or culvert is located.

  13. Any person or persons driving on a bridge or culvert located on the state system of highways with loads in excess of the maximum loading permitted on such bridge or culvert as shown by the signs posted thereon, or who in any way causes damage to a bridge or culvert in violation of the provisions of the highway law or the vehicle and traffic law shall be liable for any damage resulting to the bridge or culvert. The superintendent of public works may take over, by official order, any bridge or culvert so damaged and it shall be his duty to make the necessary repairs or reconstruct such bridge or culvert and he may pay for the cost of same out of funds available for the maintenance, repair, reconstruction and construction of state highways and bridges. The superintendent of public works is hereby authorized to bring an action in the name of the state against any person or corporation to recover damages sustained or suffered or expenses incurred by the state in consequence of any act or omission of any such person or corporation in violation of any of the provisions of the highway law or the vehicle and traffic law.