Saratoga County

Weekend tie-ups seen on Twin Bridges

Temporary closures on the Adirondack Northway’s Twin Bridges starting next weekend will lead to majo

Temporary closures on the Adirondack Northway’s Twin Bridges starting next weekend will lead to major traffic backups in both directions, and state officials are urging people to take alternate routes.

“By planning ahead, travelers will be able to find alternate routes,” said state Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.

The northbound half of the bridge will be closed on weekends starting Sept. 7 as part of a $29 million replacement of the 53-year-old bridges’ driving decks and steel deck supports.

Starting at 10 p.m. that Friday through 5 a.m. the following Monday, the northbound side of the bridge will be closed on weekends through late October. The Columbus Day weekend is an exception, due to high traffic volumes that weekend, officials said.

Formally known Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridges, the twin steel-arch spans that carry Interstate 87 over the Mohawk River between Albany and Saratoga counties are used by an average of 116,000 vehicles a day on weekdays, though volume in much less on weekends. The one-hour peak volume on weekdays is about 6,000 vehicles, and the peak is only about 3,500 vehicles per hour on weekends.

“This bridge work is an excellent example of how Governor Cuomo’s NY Works funding can be used to invest in our aging infrastructure and quickly improve its condition while creating jobs and bolstering a key commercial corridor,” McDonald said at a news conference Wednesday beneath the Halfmoon side of the bridge.

During the closure weekends, northbound traffic will be diverted onto a single lane of the southbound bridge, and southbound traffic will also be limited to one lane. Significant backups are anticipated.

“Travelers should expect delays,” McDonald said.

She urged travelers to check or call the state’s 511 traffic information line for updated information before traveling.

Suggested alternatives will include Route 9, which runs parallel to the Northway. But because the closure is expected to significantly increase traffic on Route 9, state officials are also suggesting other alternatives, like taking Route 146 across the river at Rexford, or I-787 through Cohoes and Waterford.

Thirteen electronic message boards are planned on local sections of I-87, I-90, the state Thruway, and more message signs as far away as New York City and the Canadian border will alert drivers to the construction work and possible delays, DOT officials said.

Federal transportation funds will pay 80 percent of the construction cost, the state the remaining share.

“By replacing the deck on the northbound side of the Twin Bridges, and doing so during the weekend to try to minimize impact on local traffic, we recognize the importance of our infrastructure and begin to make necessary repairs in a thoughtful manner,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam. “The bottom line is there’s a strong benefit here.”

During the closure, multiple crews will be working around the clock to remove worn steel and decking, and replace them with new steel and prefabricated concrete deck, said James Grady, DOT Region One structures engineer.

In addition to the variable message signs along the Northway in the vicinity of the bridges, there will be 11 existing traffic cameras and six newly installed temporary cameras for motorists to check current traffic conditions before traveling.

“We did extensive modeling, and we believe traffic will be significantly reduced,” said Sam Zhou, DOT’s Region One director.

Feeds from the traffic cameras will be available at the project website,, and through 511NY.

Some work is already starting.

Concrete barriers were put in place on the bridge shoulders on Tuesday, and temporary cross-over lanes are being built. Workers were already riveting underneath the bridge on Wednesday.

Next spring, deck replacement will begin on the southbound bridge, which will again require six weekend closures, with work expected to finish before summer traffic picks up on Memorial Day weekend.

The Fort Miller Co. of Schuylerville is providing the pre-cast concrete for the bridge, and company President H. John “Butch” Marcelle said he feels a personal connection.

“My father was a project superintendent for D.A. Collins in the late 1950s when this bridge was going up,” he said. “I remember standing right here with my father and watching the arches get erected.”

State officials said using pre-cast concrete greatly reduces the amount of traffic impact, since the concrete does not need to go through the lengthy curing process before being ready for traffic.

Grady said this project will leave the Twin Bridges in great shape. The steel cables that support the deck were replaced three years ago, and the large steel arches and their supports are in good shape.

“We’re looking at many, many decades of life for this bridge,” Grady said.

The construction contractor is Lane Construction Corporation, a national company based in Cheshire, Conn.

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