Schenectady County

Rexford Bridge painting, repairs under way

The Rexford Bridge has been wrapped in heavy tarps as part of a weeks-long state project to paint th

The Rexford Bridge has been wrapped in heavy tarps as part of a weeks-long state project to paint the steel girders that carry Route 146 over the Mohawk River between Niskayuna and Rexford.

Michael Gray, a construction supervisor with the state Department of Transportation, said painting should be completed by Thanksgiving. The DOT is painting 14 bridges in the state under a $14 million contract, part of the agency’s repair program, he said.

The tarps, which went up about three weeks ago, are there to contain lead-based paint that is being blasted off the girders, Gray said. “Most bridges that haven’t been painted in a while have lead-based paint. That is why we have the tarps. They act as a containment and allow us to establish a negative air flow in the area and create a big vacuum,” he said.

In this way, the lead-based paint is collected before it can contaminate the environment, Gray said. The paint will be deposited in a certified landfill.

The state will cover the bridge with paint that does not contain lead, Gray said. This paint is expected to last 15 to 20 years.

Gray said the Rexford Bridge was last painted in the 1970s. The bridge itself was built in the 1930s, he said.

The paint is removed during the day and the work does not impede traffic over the bridge, a busy thoroughfare, Gray said.

The state is performing a secondary, less-expensive project on the Rexford Bridge at the same time: it is patching the bridge’s concrete surface.

The work is done in the evening when traffic flow is light, allowing the state to use alternating one-lane traffic on the bridge, Gray said. The deck work will be done in mid-November. The project cost is approximately $100,000.

At some point, the state plans to widen the Route 146 corridor from two lanes to five lanes and replace the Rexford Bridge. That solution would cost approximately $50 million and is several years away, Gray said.

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