The state will be doing a new round of temporary repairs on the Route 9P bridge across the mouth of Saratoga Lake starting Monday, state officials said -- the second summer in a row repairs have been needed on the aging span.
The bridge is also going to be reduced to alternating one-way traffic, and that will remain in effect until scheduled construction of a new bridge starting in September 2010.
The repairs and restrictions were decided on after a new inspection of the bridge this spring showed continued deterioration of steel, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Van Keuren.
"The bridge has lived a full and useful life, and we are trying to keep it open as best we can," he said.
State officials have previously said the 600-foot-long bridge is badly deteriorated because of age, with rusting steel and flaking on the concrete piers.
The bridge, built in 1923, links Saratoga Springs to residences and businesses around the eastern shore of Saratoga Lake, including a state boat launch.
"I don't think it's going to prevent people from coming to the boat launch, but it's going to create a traffic hassle," said Tim Blodgett, who owns Saratoga Tackle, a fishing supply store on the east side of the bridge.
Repairs are going to be done at about 10 locations on the bridge, and will cost about $130,000, DOT officials said. The work will be done by DOT maintenance crews, and will take about four weeks.
Van Keuren said there will be general steel repairs, some involving floorbeam work. It will be a combination of replacing and repairing existing elements of the bridge, he said.
When work begins Monday morning, signal-controlled alternating one-way traffic will be allowed, and is anticipated to remain in place after the repairs are done, reducing the vehicle weight on the bridge at any given time.
"These cost-effective repairs and limited traffic pattern will allow the bridge to remain in use with its current 15-ton load posting," Van Keuren said.
With the restrictions, the bridge is safe, Van Keuren said, but it will continue to be closely monitored. "If it wasn't safe, we would close it," he said.
The weight limit was only imposed in February, based on an inspection done last December.
The bridge is used by an average of 5,000 vehicles per day, but that number is generally higher in the summer. Van Keuren said the delays may be two or three minutes, and people may seek alternate routes.
There were several weeks of one-way traffic during repairs last summer, and Blodgett said people coped with the delays.
"The lake is popular, this is the access point, and people will put up with a lot," Blodgett said.
The replacement plan calls for the bridge being entirely closed starting at Labor Day 2010, with a replacement opening by the following Memorial Day.