NISKAYUNA — The big trucks will once again start rolling in and out of the construction staging area for the Rexford Bridge project this week.
To start, workers will be prepare the site to receive steel beams. By the end of the week, weather permitting, those beams will start arriving.
The deliveries mark the first step in the season’s work on the bridge over the Mohawk that connects Niskayuna to Clifton Park. As the steel is delivered, cranes will offload the beams and place them on barges which will ferry them to newly-constructed piers.
DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani said it will take four to five weeks for all of the steel to be delivered and installed on the piers. Deliveries are expected to be made between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to avoid high-traffic times. DOT will monitor traffic conditions during this phase of construction and will make delivery adjustments as necessary.
"Our construction plan calls for minimizing the impact to drivers that drive through the busy travel route," Viggiani said. "It's a busy road used by commuters and people traveling between growing communities."
If all goes according to plan, the beams should all be delivered and installed by mid- to late-May. At that point, construction of the new road deck will begin. There will also be construction at the intersection of State Route 146 and Riverview Road in Clifton Park and, toward the end of bridge work, the new two-lane roundabout on the Niskayuna side will be completed.
Viggiani said it was not known, as of this week, whether road closures or detours will be necessary during this final round of construction.
“It’s too soon to tell,” he said. “But if a detour is required, we will work with our local partners and governments and give people plenty of notice.”
He went on to say that if detours are needed, drivers should expect a similar situation to last year, when there were two weekends of detours around the site.
The new bridge is expected to open to traffic before fall, with all construction and cleanup work, including demolition of the current Rexford Bridge, to be complete by year’s end.
“We are very happy with how things are going,” said Viggiani, who reported the project, which began in late 2015, is on schedule.
The aim of the wider bridge, larger roundabout, improved intersection and multi-use path is to alleviate travel delays that come with growing traffic volumes between Schenectady and Saratoga counties -- for work and play. Until the new bridge is open, however, the historically congested area will continue to clog with cars at certain times of the day.
To help drivers avoid tie-ups, some map apps, like Google, reroute southbound drivers to Maple Avenue, which runs through Glenville and ends at Freemans Bridge Road.
Schenectady County plans to resume construction on Maple Avenue this spring, as well. However, county spokesman Joe McQueen said the nature of the Maple Avenue project should not cause backups on the road.
A new, 2,000-foot stretch of road is being constructed alongside the existing roadway. The new road will improve safety by eliminating a sharp curve and creating better access to Stratton Air National Guard Base, with the installation of a turn lane.
That construction is scheduled to wrap up this summer.