A busy commuter bridge will be resurfaced for the first time — and closed for two months — starting the day after Labor Day.
Work on the Sunnyside Road bridge, which carries traffic over railroad tracks and serves as a shortcut from Route 50 in Scotia to Freemans Bridge Road in Glenville, is slated to start Tuesday, Sept. 2, and be completed in late October.
“It’s the only bridge the village owns,” Mayor Kris Kastberg said, “and it’s heavily used by commuter traffic because it shortens the trip to both Schenectady and Clifton Park and the Glenville area.”
Both lanes of the bridge will be closed to traffic for the duration of the project. The 365-foot-long bridge was built in 1976.
“It’s a concrete deck, and it just deteriorates over time,” said Andrew Kohout, the village’s public works superintendent. “Patching work has been done, but after a while, you can only patch it so much. It just needs to be resurfaced.”
Drivers that take Sunnyside Road will be detoured to Dutch Meadows Lane near Wal-Mart, which is about a half-mile north of the Route 50/Sunnyside Road intersection and about three-quarters of a mile north of where Freemans Bridge and Sunnyside roads meet. Electronic message boards notifying drivers of the closure will go up on both sides of the bridge next week.
Kastberg said the village decided to close the entire bridge for the duration of the project because keeping one lane open at a time would have prolonged the project and added labor and traffic-control costs.
“It would almost double the amount of time the project would take, and it would increase the cost significantly,” he said.
Town & County Bridge and Rail of Albany, the lowest of three bidders, was awarded a $296,758 contract for the work. The village is using two years of state Department of Transportation Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement funding, plus a one-time, $14,000 Extreme Winter Recovery payment from the state to pay for the project.
The work will entail covering the bridge with an apoxee overlay rather than asphalt and repaving the single sidewalk. While the village owns the bridge deck, the structure beneath and the tracks themselves are owned by Amtrak and will not be improved.
“We’re rehabbing all that is the village’s responsibility,” Kohout said.
Kastberg recognized the bridge closure will be an inconvenience for drivers, but he said the work is badly needed and the plan is to “get in there, get it done and get out as quickly as possible.”
“There's been a lot of complaints about the condition of the bridge,” he said.
Kohout also said he spoke to the transportation supervisor for the Scotia-Glenville Central School District and the district has adjusted its bus routes to accommodate the closure.
The work was originally planned for last year, but the state’s Western Gateway Bridge project wasn't finished and closing the Sunnyside Road bridge would have been too much of an inconvenience, Kohout said. The Western Gateway Bridge reopened to traffic in January.
“I think that would be very unpopular,” he said. “A lot of people started to use that route [Sunnyside Road] when the other bridge [Western Gateway Bridge] started to get backed up.”