SCOTIA — A new bridge to replace the current Sunnyside Road bridge, which closed to traffic Wednesday because of its deteriorated condition, likely will not be completed until the end of 2024, officials said.
Scotia Mayor Tom Gifford previously said it would be completed “sometime” in 2024. The new announcement clarifies that the work is expected to be done at the end of that year.
Gifford updated the estimated completion time after talking to project engineers in recent days.
“They [engineers] said that’s just the way it is,” Gifford said Wednesday, mentioning the many layers of bureaucracy involved in the process. “They don’t want us to get over optimistic about how long it takes, because it takes a long time.”
The village received almost $4.8 million in grant funding from the Capital District Transportation Committee toward replacement of the bridge. The village will have to put up 5%, for which Gifford expected to use American Rescue Plan Act funds, he said in early September.
On Wednesday Gifford said, “Through a generous grant facilitated by the CDTC and funded by the federal government, we have the money in place and engineers hired to design a new bridge. Those engineers understand the importance of speed, but each step takes levels of approvals and the state and federal governments and the railroads are deliberate in pace. The engineers tell us that the best we can expect for completion is the end of 2024.”
The village also hired CHA Consulting for over $725,000 to develop the design for the bridge. CHA Consulting could not be reached for comment.
The bridge closure is not expected to have a big impact on traffic, Gifford said. He noted the bridge was closed for two months in 2014 for the deck of the bridge to be replaced. “You get used to going the other way around,” Gifford said. “We hate having to make people do that but they will get used to it quickly.”
The Schenectady County Department of Engineering and Public Works reported Tuesday that Sunnyside Road would be closed starting Wednesday because of the bridge closure. The recommended detour for eastbound drivers is Washington Avenue to state Route 50 to Dutch Meadows Lane to Freemans Bridge Road. The recommended detour for westbound drivers is Freemans Bridge Road to Dutch Meadows Lane to state Route 50 to Washington Avenue.
The closure’s impact on commute time would depend on where a person is headed, Gifford said.
“A lot of people coming from the north use [the bridge] for a shortcut, but if they use Dutch Meadows it won’t take them any longer,” Gifford explained. “Somebody coming from the village and going to Alplaus, it would probably take an extra 10 minutes or so.”
Gifford said he has received one letter from a village resident who said the closure would add to commute time.
Gifford said the village is working hard to make sure the new bridge is completed as soon as possible.