Heavy construction on the new Rexford Bridge should start in the second week in April, the state Department of Transportation’s regional director said Tuesday.
“The trees have been cut. The area has been cleared. Bridge construction will begin soon,” said Regional Director Sam Zhou.
The $32.5 million project, which is expected to take two years, is among the largest planned this year in DOT Region 1, an eight-county area that includes the main Capital Region counties.
Altogether, the region will see nearly $420 million in construction spending this year, Zhou said at a quarterly meeting of the Capital District Transportation Committee.
Most years construction spending is about half that, but road and bridge projects are seeing a boost from the New York Works program and post-Irene and Sandy funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The aging two-lane Rexford Bridge, which carries Route 146 across the Mohawk River, is a major commuter link between Schenectady and Saratoga counties. About 22,000 vehicles per day use it.
The 51-year-old bridge is being replaced by a four-lane bridge that will be built immediately to the west of the current bridge. Trees along the new alignment have already been cut, and this week DOT electronic signs began advertising the start of work April 11.
“Heavy duty construction will begin very shortly,” Zhou said.
The existing bridge will remain open during construction. “The goal is to minimize the impact on existing traffic,” Zhou said.
The Rexford project isn’t the only major construction Schenectady County will see during the coming construction season.
At the I-890 Exit 4 intersection in front of General Electric’s main plant in Schenectady, the state will spend $4.6 million on a realignment to eliminate the complex traffic circle pattern that forces many people to make rapid multiple lane shifts. Zhou said the work should be done in a single construction season.
Other big DOT projects coming this year:
•In Lake George, $7 million will be spent on a “gateway” project, rebuilding Route 9 as it enters the village of Lake George from the south. The reconstructed road will have a median, sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Zhou said it will be similar to the southern Route 9 entrance to Saratoga Springs, which has a median, Victorian-style street lights, and other amenities.
• The three-year reconstruction of I-787 in downtown Albany will wrap up, but a multiyear project for the entrance ramps to the Empire State Plaza will start.
• Route 5-Central Avenue between Schenectady and Albany is in line for $1.8 million in pedestrian safety improvements, including new crosswalks and crossing signals. The busy road has a long history of vehicle-pedestrian accidents.
• Saratoga County paving projects will include Route 29 from central Saratoga Springs about halfway to Schuylerville; Route 50 from Ballston Spa to Saratoga Spa State Park; and Route 67 from Paisley Road in Milton to Route 147 in Charlton. Route 146 from the Northway to Route 236 will also be repaved.
• In Schenectady County, Route 50 from the village of Scotia to the Alplaus Creek will be repaved, as will a section of Route 7 in Duanesburg.
Zhou said most of the projects will start in April or May, the usual beginning of construction season.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.