GLENVILLE – Glenville residents and local commuters will have to take a detour to get from one end of Freemans Bridge Road to the other for three days this week while the rail crossing is under construction.
The rail crossing on Freemans Bridge Road just north of Lowes will be closed for three days this week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A detour will be in place to help drivers navigate not only the closure of the rail crossing, but also the closure of the Sunnyside Road Bridge nearby.
“Obviously with Sunnyside being closed, it’s going to add a layer of complexity to the detour,” Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said Monday.
A detour route map which shows the closures on Freemans Bridge Road and Sunnyside Road Bridge is available on Glenville’s Department of Public Works webpage. The detour map suggests someone driving from the north end of Freemans Bridge Road would travel down Route 50 (North Ballston Road) to Route 5 and the Western Gateway Bridge and then up Erie Boulevard to get to the other end of Freemans Bridge Road.
NYS Department of Transportation reported the closure at the rail crossing would begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday and last until 6 p.m. Thursday, weather permitting, and that motorists should follow the posted detour signs.
“The businesses aren’t happy about it, there’s no question,” Koetzle said. “The residents are preparing, we got the word out about this as soon as we heard, and as quick as we heard so that everyone can prepare for it. It’s going to be three days of difficult travel for folks, but keeping the businesses open and keeping those routes open is important”
The businesses on either side of the closure will be open during the closure. Local traffic will be able to get to the businesses on either side of the closure up until the rail crossing, Koetzle explained. Someone coming from the south will be able to get to Lowes or Freemans Wine and Liquor and the other businesses on that side of the closure and from the north a driver would be able to get to Walmart, the Dutch Meadows business and the other businesses on that side of the closure.
A number of residents had suggested the work be done during the night, Koetzle said. He explained, the amount of work to be done would not allow for the rail crossing to remain open while the work is being done.
“We’ve talked with DOT about this, and the work is so significant that it has to close,” Koetzle said. “It doesn’t matter if the work is done at night or during the day, it has to be closed to traffic because it’s such a significant amount of work on the rail for three days. There’s just no way around it. So folks who are asking for night work, I think they just should be aware this job requires a three-day-closure, regardless of when the work is done.”
The town’s role in this project is to help facilitate communications and working with everyone involved to help mitigate the impact on the residents and the businesses, and as an advocate for getting the work done, Ketzle explained.
“We’re doing everything we can, we just have to get through these next couple of difficult days,” Koetzle said.
Concrete panels are being installed in-between the rails as part of the work being done, which will make the drive across the tracks much smoother and safer, Koetzle said.
The concrete panel system being installed is why the closure will take three days, Glenville’s Commissioner of Public Works Craig D’Allaird explained.
“The panel system is the entire width of the road, so they can’t do one side of the road and then the other, they have to work on the whole thing at once,” D’Allaird said.
The concrete panels being installed are the same type which are used on the rail crossing on Alplaus Avenue.
The issue with the Freemans Bridge Road crossing, has been the timbers between the rails had become very worn down. The work being done this week will include cutting all of the old timbers out and cutting the concrete panels in their place, D’Allaird said.
The closure of the Sunny Side Road Bridge means there will not be a shortcut through this detour, D’Allaird said.
The detour could add ab additional ten minutes to a person’s commute if they are not aware of the closure and have to turn around on one end of Freemans Bridge Road and drive around, D’Allaird explained.
The rail tracks are owned by CSX Transportation and the road the crossing is on is maintained by the Department of Transportation.
Maintenance like this is critical to the safety of both train operations and roadway traffic, according to a representative from CSX Transportation. It has been scheduled in close coordination with local roadway authorities in order to temporarily close roads as crews replace crossties and repave asphalt to provide a safe, smooth surface for drivers, they explained.
“We appreciate the public’s patience while we complete this work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists using this crossing and a safe, reliable freight rail network,” The CSX Transportation representative said in a statement.