Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Feb. 7 that all 112 NY Works accelerated bridge projects have been completed and open to motorists. The opening of the Western Gateway Bridge (Route 5) over the Mohawk River between the city of Schenectady and the village of Scotia, Schenectady County, marks the final project to be finished. With this milestone, a majority of NY Works-funded transportation infrastructure projects are completed.
“Today, with the opening of the Western Gateway Bridge in the Capital Region, I am pleased to announce that all 112 bridge projects under our NY Works program are complete and open to traffic,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Under NY Works, the state has made critical investments in New York’s transportation infrastructure that has saved taxpayer dollars, supported new economic opportunities and created jobs all across the state. In just two years, we have dramatically improved and built new bridges that will make it safer for commuters, tourists and commercial vehicles to travel through our state for years to come.”
Enacted as part of the 2012-2013 Budget, Cuomo’s NY Works program allotted $212 million to address bridge deck and structural replacement or rehabilitation needs on approximately 112 bridges across New York State. That included a total of 32 bridge projects contracted through the design-build process, all of which are now substantially complete. Work also included rehabilitating 77 bridges and replacing three bridges through the traditional contract bid process. Those projects were completed late last year.
An additional $687 million was allocated for nine signature transportation projects of regional or statewide significance throughout the state that had been delayed due to resource constraints. Some of those projects are ongoing. The largest NY Works project is the $500 million replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City. Groundbreaking for that project is expected later this year.
More than 2,000 mi. (3,218 km) of pavement were replaced in 2012 as part of the program.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “Governor Cuomo’s NY Works program allowed us to improve safety and preserve roads and bridges for years to come. The Western Gateway Bridge is not only a key connector for motorists traveling between the city and Scotia, but the multi-modal enhancements we added will be an improvement for bicyclists and pedestrians as well.”
The $16.9 million Western Gateway Bridge project rehabilitated the bridge, replaced the bridge deck and reconfigured the driving lanes to one 11-ft. (3.3 m) travel lane in each direction plus one 14-ft. (4.3 m) shared-use lane in each direction. The shared-use lanes accommodate both motorists and bicyclists following the signed State Bike Route 5 over the bridge.
The bridge also now features a 10-ft. (3 m) multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists on the east side of the bridge. The multi-use path connects existing paths on both sides of the river. The west side of the bridge features a 5 ft. (1.5 m) sidewalk, which will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The project originally called for simply replacing the bridge deck and sidewalks but in response to community input, NYSDOT expanded the project to include additional pedestrian and bicycle amenities to enhance existing infrastructure and better fit into the community.
The work was completed as part of a $31.3 million contract through the NY Works program for critical repairs to 13 bridges in the North Country and Capital Region. The construction contractor for the project is Kubricky Construction Corp. of Wilton, Saratoga County and the design consultant is VHB Engineering, Surveying & Landscaping Architecture of Albany.
The design-build process allows for the combining of design and construction services into single contracts to help expedite repair work to vital infrastructure to save taxpayer money. Design-build contractors submit proposals to design and build the bridge at the same time.
The NY Works program focuses on improving the condition of roads and bridges from fair condition to good condition in order to extend their service life. The improvements better preserve the state’s infrastructure and guard against the need for more costly, in-depth construction.