The state plans to rehabilitate the Broadway bridge in Fulton, a two year process that will be hard on drivers but could be harder on pedestrians.
The bridge is safe, according to state Department of Transportation spokesman Gene Cilento, but it needs a lot of work. The project intends to replace not only the bridge surface and sidewalks, but also replace some girders and piers as well as modify the approaches to the bridge at either end.
“If it was unsafe, it would be closed,” said Cilento.
The department will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, September 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Fulton City Hall to discuss the project and take suggestions from the public.
The bridge, part of State Route 3, is among the busiest traffic points in the city. It feeds the two north-south routes on either side of the Oswego River. The state estimates that more than 13,000 cars a day go through Route 3 at the Route 48 intersection on the west side of the river, and more than 21,000 cars a day drive along Route 3 at the Route 481 intersection on the east side.
The project is slated to begin in spring, 2012 and take two full construction seasons, ending in the fall of 2013. The state will shut down half of the bridge at a time, reducing the four lane bridge to just two lanes of traffic.
Pedestrians may feel the harshest impact, however. Cilento said that the bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic in the spring, summer and fall, but may not be safe in the winter. The current plan is to provide a shuttle bus to take pedestrians across the bridge in the winter.
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward said he’s not sure how many hours the bus will run each day and isn’t happy about the closing of sidewalks. “We pleaded with them to keep the sidewalks open,” he said.
The repair work will shift a lot of traffic to the two-lane Oneida St. bridge, the only other route across the river in the city. The city owns and is responsible to maintain that bridge. Woodward said the bridge can handle the load safely.
[Correction:Â We initially had the wrong date for the hearing in the first run of this story.Â Our apologies for the error.]