Traffic over and near the Twin Bridges was as expected Saturday: slow.
One lane of traffic was open in each direction on the southbound bridge, the result of workers from the state Department of Transportation closing down the northbound bridge at 10 p.m. on Friday. The closure is for deck replacement work, which will be ongoing until around 5 a.m. on Monday when the northbound bridge is expected to reopen for the rest of the week.
This procedure will be repeated five additional weekends, but will remain open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend in October. The work is part of a $29 million deck replacement project, which will include work on the southbound bridge in early spring for a comparable period.
Matt Cannon, 27, was well aware of the potential backup when he traveled across the bridge around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. He said there wasn’t any surprises, noting the numerous signs and warnings that have been issued in advance of the closure.
“Since it was fairly early, I gave it a chance,” Cannon said of his traveling plans, adding that he wanted to glimpse the work. Traveling back home around 5 p.m., though, he opted to take a different route.
As far as he’s concerned, the approximately 10-minute delay in the morning was a small price to pay to allow work that will ensure the bridge remains safe.
Later in the day, the delay stretched out to around 20 minutes, with traffic heading south coming to a halt in the right lane about two miles before the bridges. Southbound traffic merged into one lane about a mile before the bridge and then the bumper to bumper pacing sped up.
On the other side around 3 p.m., northbound traffic was backed up about two miles before the bridge as well.
Vashti Ziegler, 22, of Latham, opted to avoid the bridges altogether and took Route 9 for part of her trip to Saratoga Springs, where she was meeting some friends for lunch.
DOT officials had warned people to expect delays on this alternative route and they ended up being right. The delays on Route 9 caught Ziegler off guard. “I was a little surprised because I thought more people would grin and bear it [on the bridges] for the small area of construction,” she said.
When she headed south on the Adirondack Northway around 2:30 p.m., she found a lot of people had the same idea of getting off at Exit 8A to avoid the bridges. Getting off the exit and heading to Route 9 she was greeted by bumper to bumper traffic.
The worst congestion was anticipated for the afternoon periods throughout the weekend.
People can monitor traffic on the bridges and on nearby routes by calling 511 or going to www.511NY.org, where up-to-date travel information is available. There is also a mobile application that offers this service and is accessible on smart devices.
Anyone caught speeding in the work zone will have their fines doubled. It was tough to speed on Saturday afternoon, though, with work zone speed limits of 45 miles per hour seeming to mock drivers who had their feet firmly pressed on the brakes.
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Categories: Schenectady County