Renovations to the Western Gateway Bridge connecting Scotia and Schenectady are progressing on schedule and on budget, despite the recent snow and cold temperatures, according to Bryan Viggiani, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
Crews will work straight through the winter to replace the bridge’s deck, he said.
In late October, the two westbound lanes of the bridge spanning the Mohawk River were closed, leaving one lane open to traffic in each direction.
The old decking on the eastbound lanes has been removed and will be replaced by spring. Once that’s done, the process will be repeated on the westbound side of the bridge.
The entire project is slated to be finished by year’s end, Viggiani said. Snow removal has not been an issue, despite limited snow storage space on the bridge, he noted.
Lane closures necessitated by the renovation have caused headaches for commuters, especially on weekday afternoons.
“We do appreciate people’s patience with it. It’s obviously important work,” Viggiani said.
To alert motorists of potential delays, an electronic variable message sign has been installed near Exit 4C on Interstate 890.
Mohawk Avenue businesses, including Gabriel’s Supermarket, Glen Sanders Mansion, Firestone Complete Auto Care and Scotia Wines and Spirits, report they haven’t seen a drop in business because of the construction.
The work has caused minor delays along the Capital District Transportation Authority’s Route 50 bus route, according to Jonathan Scherzer, director of marketing for CDTA.
Hemmed in on one side by the original bridge wall and on the other by concrete Jersey barriers, the two narrow lanes open to traffic on the bridge are at times a tight squeeze for buses, he noted.
“There have been a couple of close calls with other large vehicles coming in the opposite direction,” he said in an email message.
Prior to the project, the bridge had two 12-foot-wide travel lanes in each direction, with narrow shoulders and 4-foot-wide sidewalks on each side.
The lanes will be reconfigured to include one 11-foot-wide travel lane in each direction, plus one 14-foot-wide shared-use lane in each direction. The shared-use lanes will accommodate both motorists and bicyclists.
The west side of the bridge will feature a 5-foot-wide sidewalk, which will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The east side will include a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, which will connect existing paths on both sides of the river.
“It’ll be a nice, multi-modal bridge. Hopefully this, in addition to moving traffic efficiently, will be great for the pedestrians and bicyclists,” Viggiani said.