GLENVILLE & SCHENECTADY -- A $3 million repair project on the busy Freemans Bridge over the Mohawk River will be starting later this month despite the overall economic slowdown.
The long-planned rehabilitation of the 35-year-old bridge will start the week of March 30, and is expected to be completed by November, according to state Department of Transportation regional spokesman Bryan Viggiani. Electronic signs letting motorists know about the upcoming project are already up near the bridge.
With heavy construction being among the industries considered essential and exempt from mandatory workplace cutbacks, "no impact from coronavirus expected on spring construction projects," Viggiani said.
PETER R. BARBER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Freemans Bridge is expected to go under repair at the end of the month as seen Friday, March 20, 2020.
The four-lane bridge, which links Erie Boulevard on the Schenectady side to Freemans Bridge Road on the Glenville said, is used by about 26,442 vehicles per day. Freemans Bridge Road is a primary link between Saratoga County and downtown Schenectady, including the General Electric industrial complex and the Rivers Casino & Resort.
The $2.96 million rehabilitation contract has been awarded to Bette & Cring of Latham. The work will include installing a concrete polymer riding surface, repairing or replacing structural concrete, replacing the bridge joints, painting, and the addition of a bicycle/multi-use lane and widened sidewalk on the west side of the bridge.
"It's pretty straightforward as far as a rehab goes," Viggiani said.
Glenville officials are very pleased with the inclusion of the bike lane, which will allow riders on the Glenville side to safely connect with the Mohawk-Hudson bike path on the Schenectady side, and from there to the planned statewide Empire State Trail. There is an existing but badly worn bike trail along the Mohawk River on the Glenville side, and the town last year received grant money to rehabilitate that trail, which runs to Scotia.
A separate road project tentatively planned for 2021 includes a "complete streets" reconstruction of Freemans Bridge Road, including adding a bike lane.
During construction, Viggiani said, the bridge will remain open to traffic. One half of the bridge will be worked on at any given time, with the normal two lanes in each direction reduced to one lane in each direction.
Access to Maxon Road Extension will be restricted at times, particularly for vehicles making a right turn from Maxon onto the bridge. Drivers who want to head north across the bridge will be routed south on Erie Boulevard to the Nott Street roundabout, where they can then reverse direction to head north and across the bridge, Viggiani said. That traffic pattern is expected to start the week of April 6.
"We appreciate people’s patience," Viggiani said.
The current bridge was built in 1985, replacing an earlier bridge.There has been a bridge at that location since 1855, when resident Volney Freeman put up a bridge just north of the American Locomotive plant, replacing what was previously a ferry service between Schenectady and Glenville.