Despite the persistent rain, the two-year Erie Boulevard project is still on schedule.
It will be substantially complete by mid- to late September, at the current rate of progress. And if it would just stop raining, workers could even get ahead of schedule.
“If we’d have had decent weather, we’d probably be ahead of the game now,” said Senior Civil Engineer John O’Sullivan, who is overseeing the project for the city.
On Tuesday, workers had to throw in the towel long before lunch, when rain made it impossible for them to continue.
They’re digging holes now for storm drains and manholes, then they will compact material into those holes to support the drains. But it just doesn’t work in the rain.
“You can’t compact it, it’s like compacting Jell-O,” O’Sullivan said.
Repeatedly, workers have had to go home early because of that problem.
“But we’re pretty much on schedule,” he said. “They’re pretty efficient once they’re going.”
This summer, drivers will see regular lane closures as work continues. O’Sullivan said electronic signs should warn drivers at least five days before each closure.
By late September, all of that work should be done. Workers will continue to hang signs and finish other small details through the fall, but from a driver’s perspective, the work will be done, O’Sullivan said.
That is, if the rain stops.
Nearby, on the Western Gateway Bridge linking Schenectady to Scotia, the rain is also causing delays. Concrete is curing on one side of the bridge, and workers are waiting for a clear day so they can lay concrete for the access lanes and sidewalks.
“The work is weather dependent,” said state Department of Transportation spokesman Bryan Viggiani.
The bridge is scheduled to be done by the end of the year. The eastbound lane should be done by late July, Viggiani said, then workers will close the westbound lanes and repeat the work they will have already finished on the eastbound side.
Traffic will continue to be delayed in that area until the work is completed.