The upcoming replacement of an old earth-and-masonry bridge with a modern structure will close part of North Central Avenue — the city’s main commercial strip — until late fall.
Work on the $3.3 million project is expected to begin in about four weeks. The street will be closed to vehicles where it crosses the Anthony Kill for most of the following six months, though there will still be pedestrian access.
“It’s going to disrupt things for about six months, but then we won’t have to worry about the bridge again for another 50 years,” said Supervisor Tom Richardson, the city’s representative on the county Board of Supervisors.
The project includes removing contaminated soil under the road. The site is right next to a formerly polluted utility property; the prospect of contamination at the bridge site has driven up the cost.
The bridge is owned by Saratoga County, which is overseeing the project. The federal government will be paying 80 percent of the cost and the state 15 percent.
The county Board of Supervisors will be voting Tuesday on accepting that financial assistance, and will also be awarding a $258,000 construction support and inspection contract to Greenman-Pedersen, an Albany engineering firm that is the county’s bridge consultant.
The apparent low bidder for the construction contract is J.H. Maloy Inc. of Colonie, at $2.75 million. The Department of Public Works is still reviewing bids and the county has yet to formally award the contract.
Planning for the project began in 2009. The work originally was scheduled to be done in 2013, but figuring out how to deal with the soil contamination delayed the project a year, said county Public Works Commissioner Keith Manz.
He said electronic message boards notifying people of the closure should go up in the next few weeks. There will be a number of potential detours while the bridge is closed, he said.
Sidewalk reconstruction and drainage improvements are also part of the project. Next year, the city is expected to spend $400,000 for completely new sidewalks along Central Avenue, which many city residents use to walk to the Price Chopper plaza.
During the bridge replacement, Richardson said, heavy trucks that use Central Avenue will be detoured around the city, because the primary detour — North Main Street — has another bridge with a low weight-limit. “Local traffic shouldn’t be any problem,” Richardson said.
Once the Central Avenue bridge is replaced, Richardson said the city will plan for replacing other deficient bridges on Main Street and Francis Street. They also cross the Anthony Kill, which takes a winding path through the old mill city’s downtown.