The swooping bridge that takes drivers escaping from Crossgates Mall to the northbound lanes of Northway will be getting a major reconstruction next year.
The state-owned bridge, built when the mall was expanded in the late '80s, was in worse condition than expected when examined this year for what were initially going to be some minor repairs, DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen said.
Now, instead of just undergoing repairs, the bridge deck will be replaced in 2013, at an estimated cost of $2.5 million. The federal government will reimburse 80 percent of the cost.
“It is scheduled to begin next spring and be completed by the end of 2013,” Breen said.
She said the construction will be staged, so one lane of traffic will remain open for people heading toward the Northway.
The contractor has yet to be selected, but Breen said they will have the option of either doing the work during overnight hours when the mall is closed or during the day but keeping one lane of traffic open for departing shoppers.
Because of the narrowing of the driving lanes, trucks will not be able to use the ramp during construction. Those vehicles will need to use the Western Avenue mall exit and access the Northway from there, Breen said.
The bridge in question is the “flyover” bridge over the Northway and the state Thruway used by traffic departing the mall. The project will not affect the adjacent but separate bridge that takes southbound Northway traffic over the Thruway and into the mall — the bridge well-known for its traffic backups during the holiday season.
Crossgates Mall, with 1.7 million square feet of retail space, is the Capital Region’s largest shopping mall. It opened in 1984. The Northway bridges were part of its original traffic infrastructure.
There may be some lane closures on the Northway below the bridge as work takes place overhead.