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Repairs begin on I-787 near downtown Albany

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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— News for construction-weary commuters: Another reconstruction project is under way on Interstate 787 in downtown Albany, this one on the section between downtown and state Thruway Exit 23.

Work started Monday on a $28.6 million project that will repair the multilane highway between Exit 3B (Madison Avenue) and its southern end at state Route 9W.

Work will involve concrete pavement reconstruction and the rehabilitation of six bridges, DOT officials said.

“The southern portion of Interstate 787 provides a key connection between the Thruway and downtown Albany and the rail station in Rensselaer,” DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said.

“As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s investment in infrastructure, it is essential that this deteriorating stretch of highway be reconstructed to ensure safety for motorists.”

About 51,000 vehicles per day travel the section between downtown and the Thruway, according to DOT figures.

Starting Monday, two travel lanes of I-787 northbound were closed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Starting today travelers will find two of the three travel lanes open during the day, with one lane closed. A second lane will be closed during night hours to accommodate restriping pavement markings and setting up concrete barriers to establish the long-term right-lane closure.

Similar work will occur the following week to establish a right lane closure on I-787 southbound. By mid-July, one lane will be closed in each direction through the fall.

“Once the barriers are up, it will be only one lane closed,” said DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen.

The total project will include repairing decks, replacing bridge joints and bearings, and making other miscellaneous concrete and steel repairs.

“It’s a pretty bumpy ride right now. It’s just concrete, and it’s getting old,” Breen said.

As part of the project, highway signs, guiderails and pavement markings will be replaced. New drainage structures will be installed. Work is expected to be completed in 2016.

The construction contractor is Lane Construction Corp. of Cheshire, Conn.

The new work will be coordinated with the ongoing reconstruction project on the section of I-787 just to the north, between the Patroon Island Bridge and the Madison Avenue exit. That work is to wrap up this fall, Breen said.

That section of I-787 is even busier, averaging about 79,000 vehicles per day, according to DOT figures.

But those projects aren’t the only one many drivers will encounter.

Work on the western tunnel roadways under the Swan Street Building will begin Monday, July 8, and involve major structural repairs to the road deck and the parking levels beneath the highway. Until the work is finished in October, there will be a new traffic pattern including detours to access I-787 and the Empire State Plaza underground parking lots.

Separately, the state Thruway Authority continues a long-term reconstruction between exits 23 and 24 that is expected to wrap up this fall.

DOT officials reminded motorists to drive cautiously through the work zone.

 
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