A $20.8 million reconstruction of a northbound portion of Interstate 787 will make trips into Albany smoother and safer after its completion this fall, but in the meantime the project is expected to be a commuting nightmare.
From the top deck of a parking garage in Albany overlooking the interstate, state and local officials broke the news about the project, which began last week with the closure of a northbound lane.
“The projects will make the bridges along this stretch of the interstate safer and provide a smoother driving surface for motorists,” said state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, wearing an orange safety vest and hard hat.
The project consists of work on the northbound lanes between exits 3B and 4 into November. Work will begin on the southbound lanes next spring, and the project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2013. The rehabilitation will require replacing concrete road surfaces, bridge bearings and joints and will also include the paving of Quay Street and Water Street.
The project is supposed to represent the unofficial start to the construction season, which is a major focus of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, as evident by his recent unveiling of the NY Works program. That program included $1.6 billion for fixing up roads and bridges, although the I-787 project is not being funded with that money.
“What you’re seeing here is a great example of what you’ll be seeing all across New York state,” McDonald said.
With the construction will come traffic delays, which are expected to be at their worst from 4 to 6 p.m. As a result of this, city intersections are expected to get bogged down as well.
To begin to deal with the problem, DOT has coordinated with the state’s Office of General Services to inform public employees who park in the vicinity about the changes. “We ask drivers to find alternate routes, allow for extra travel time and to stay patient,” McDonald said.
The construction work is being done by DA Collins Construction Co. of Mechanicville.