New Jail arrives by Train in Steuben County Watch Video Kevin Doran reporting for WROC-TV Air Date: August 24, 2006, 6:00 PM The new addition to the Steuben County Jail is here! It arrived on 24 railroad cars last week. County Administrator Mark Alger says, "People were wondering what they were, but it was kind of exciting. They're quite a bit different than what people perceive them to be."
Ninety-six precast concrete jail cells were made by a company in Georgia and shipped by train right to the jail in Bath. Each weighs 30-tons, and they're carefully being set into place.
"They are shipped here with everything ready to go except for the locks on the door," says Sheriff Richard Tweddell. "We have to hook up water and electricity; they are ready for inmates now."
Each unit contains two jail cells. Each cell has a concrete bed and table and stainless steel toilet, sink and drinking fountain. Steuben County is spending $16,000,000 on the addition because it's run out of room and it's expensive to send prisoners elsewhere. The Sheriff says, "In 2005 it cost us about $600,000 to book out inmates."
Believe it or not, it's only going to take about 4 days to set all these jail cells. There's about another year of finish work after that. But compare that to the old jail that took more than 18 months to build.
Bottom-line, Steuben County decided precast concrete is quicker than traditional construction methods. "Time is money," says Alger, "and the shorter the time it takes to put up the facility, the more money we save on the operation in turn."
The big cranes and railroad cars have actually been quite a show in Bath. Matt Langworthy came all the way from Irondequoit to watch. "Actually it looked like a giant set of Legos. The way they were stacking it and interlocking together. I mean it was really fun to watch. It does go slowly at times because they're using a crane, but it really is interesting."
If all goes as planned, the "jail on a rail" could be open by this time next year. Sheriff Tweddell says he's had other sheriffs visit to watch construction, so we may see more of these precast jails in our area in the future.