The southbound span of the Northway's Twin Bridges across the Mohawk River will be closed starting at 10 p.m. today for a major deck replacement project.
All traffic will be shifted to the northbound bridge until early Monday morning, for the first of what is expected to be seven weekend-long closures through Memorial Day weekend.
This is the second half of the $29 million state Department of Transportation project that replaced the northbound bridge deck last fall. That work caused significant traffic backups despite being done on weekends to minimize the impact on weekday commuters.
This time, state officials think things will go more smoothly, in part because an additional driving lane on the bridge will be open. During construction, all traffic is being shifted to the northbound bridge, and the travel directions will be separated by a portable concrete wall called a "zipper barrier," which is easier to move than a traditional barrier.
Northbound traffic will be reduced to a single lane, and will share the bridge with two lanes of southbound traffic. Last fall, there was only one lane open in each direction.
"Sunday night traffic will be two lanes south, and that's more than we had last fall," said DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani. "All three lanes in each direction will be open before commuter hours on Monday."
Drivers are also being encouraged to use Route 9 as an alternate route.
Work on the bridges -- known officially at the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge, after a Revolutionary War hero -- is scheduled to be finished before Memorial Day weekend, when vacation traffic picks up significantly.
During the project, DOT has 13 electronic message signs along the Northway, along with an additional 13 message signs on other roads around the Capital Region. There are also nine web-accessible traffic cameras between Northway exits 6 and 15, and six temporary traffic cameras along Route 9.
Camera feeds will be available at the project website, www.dot.ny.gov/twinbridges, and through 511NY, the state's phone and Internet travel information source. There is also a Facebook page for construction updates at www.facebook.com/NorthwayTwinBridges.
An emergency tow truck will be stationed near the bridge to quickly clear any disabled vehicles.