Saratoga County

Bridge closure to make getting to regatta tougher

Spectators at the Head of the Fish Regatta today and Sunday should plan to spend extra time getting

Spectators at the Head of the Fish Regatta today and Sunday should plan to spend extra time getting there because of the closure of the Route 9P bridge at the southern end of Fish Creek.

It’s the first regatta since the bridge closed in September, and organizers expect 1,600 participants plus spectators over the two days.

“We’re telling people to expect to take about an hour to come in and park,” said Susan Pruiksma of the Saratoga Rowing Association, which hosts the popular event. Spectators park and watch the regatta from the finish line, which is at Lee’s Park near the demolished Route 9P bridge.

Drivers are being told to get off Interstate 87 at Exit 14 and take Union Avenue to Meadowbrook Road, across Stafford’s Bridge to Fitch Road and back around to Lee’s Park. It’s a distance of more than seven miles, compared to the two miles or so it would take to get there if the bridge were open.

It’s also possible to get to the park from Exit 13 by following Route 9 north and then turning right on Route 9P.

Traffic is always slow at the regattas because of the sheer number of vehicles going there, and for the past year, the Route 9P bridge has had alternating traffic, as it was reduced to one lane for safety reasons.

The 87-year-old steel bridge was closed in early September for demolition; the state Department of Transportation will replace it with a new bridge as part of a $10.8 million contract with Kubricky Construction of Queensbury. The new bridge is expected to be open for Memorial Day traffic next year. The bridge had been used by about 5,000 vehicles a day.

It will be constructed with precast concrete piles sunk into the lake bottom as the foundation. The new bridge will be wider than the old one and feature 4-foot shoulders for bicycles on each side and 5-foot-wide sidewalks.

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