FULTON, NY – While travelers may think it looks like construction has stopped, the concrete poured for the north lanes of the Broadway Bridge that carries State Route 3 over the Oswego River is very busy curing below the deck surface so it will be several weeks before all lanes east and west will finally re-open.
NYS Department of Transportation spokesman Gene Cilento stopped by the Broadway Bridge project Thursday (July 10) afternoon to give Oswego County Today an update on the construction and talk about its anticipated completion time.
“The reason why you don’t see a lot of activity is due to the deck pour,” he said. “The surface is firm but down below it’s not quite fully cured.”
The concrete pour for the new decking, about 1,500 cubic yards in all, is about 9 to 10 inches thick.
Currently sprinklers run the length of the deck span trickling water onto the new surface.
“The water is sprayed on the bridge to resist cracking,” Cilento said. “If the concrete dries too quickly it could crack.”
The DOT spokesman noted that the project has been ‘staged’ due to the constant use of the bridge throughout its reconstruction. “The construction would have gone a whole lot faster if we didn’t have to maintain a traffic flow. It probably could have been done in one full year,” he said.
Although the delay of the project’s onset caused construction to carry-over an extra winter, Cilento said there is every indication the bridge will reopen before this construction season ends.
Prior to starting the $12.2 million state reconstruction project, it was estimated that more than 13,000 cars a day go through the State Route 3 and State Route 48 intersection on the west side of the river, and more than 21,000 cars a day drive along Route 3 at the State Route 481 intersection on the east side.
When the plan was introduced in September 2010, it was anticipated the bridge rehabilitation would take two construction seasons to complete.
Work was originally slated to begin in the spring of 2012, to be completed before the end of 2013 but did not begin until late summer 2012 causing a full season delay in anticipated completion.
“This wasn’t a bridge replacement,” Cilento noted. “It was a major rehabilitation. Some of the steel down below is new, not all of it. The concrete piers in the river have been resurfaced, refaced, … new deck, new rail, new sidewalk, curb. But it’s not a full replacement.”
Right now upright green concrete reinforcement bar cages encased in plywood forms can be seen in place along the northern length of the new concrete deck.
Tucked into the forms are Styrofoam and wood spacers that will be removed after the concrete is poured giving the decorative Texas railing its shape and character.
Once that concrete is poured the light poles will be installed, like the ones already in place on the south side, then there is a 30 day cure time.
“Certainly by fall it will be open,” Cilento said. “One of the last things the contractor will do is pave the approaches at the east and west ends of the new surface … then the bridge gets opened.”
The final phase of the project involves creating the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge but that will be done once the north side lanes are reopened.
Right now pedestrians are using a temporary walkway that is completely outside the south side’s new construction that will be removed when the project is finished.
“It’s not far from completion,” Cilento said. “It’s not quite ready yet.”