Route 5S bridge closure discussion Tuesday

The Route 5S bridge over Schoharie Creek, which has carried everything from trains to bicycles to ve
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The Route 5S bridge over Schoharie Creek, which has carried everything from trains to bicycles to vehicular traffic during its 102-year lifespan, will be getting a well-earned rehabilitation.

“We’ll be replacing the bearings, where the steel of the bridge meets the groundings,” said State Department of Transportation spokesman Anthony Ilacqua. “Like any bridge structure, you have to allow for expansion and contraction.”

The project, which will force the bridge to close for a few months, will include cleaning and a new paint job and will probably begin in the spring of 2013.

The DOT is hosting a public meeting Tuesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fonda-Fultonville Central School to discuss construction plans and traffic flow. “We’re conducting the meeting a year in advance of the project so the public is informed, and to get a sense of the impact the construction will have,” Ilacqua said. The bridge will close for three months.

“The bridge has seen less deterioration than other highway bridges,” Ilacqua said. “No elements of the structure have failed. It’s got a lot of life left in it. This is just maintenance.”

Prior to tropical storms Irene and Lee, the former rail bridge carried pedestrians on the Erie Canal Trail. But last summer, traffic was redirected over it when the newer Route 5S bridge to its south had to be closed because of damage from flood waters.

After the rehabilitation, the old rail bridge is expected to carry Route 5S traffic for several more years.

This is not the first time the old bridge has been pressed back into service. Following the Thruway Bridge collapse of 1987 south of Fort Hunter, it was used to carry westbound traffic.

Categories: Schenectady County

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