October 1, 2013


Work to replace 2 bridges

BridgeJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
A vehicle crosses the northbound Interstate 81 overpass Monday in Preble.

Staff Reporter

PREBLE —A $7.8 million project to replace a pair of Interstate 81 bridges over Preble Road is under way, with temporary roadways designed to divert traffic during construction completed over the past weekend.
The northbound bridge will be the first replaced next month due to the numerous oversize trucks accidents involving the overpass spanning Preble Road.
While the 47-year-old bridges had previously been slated for routine repair and maintenance, both will be replaced with concrete bridges with a clearance of 15 feet 6 inches, as opposed to the previous 14 feet 3 inches. Scheduled replacement in 2015 was moved ahead as a result of damage to the bridges.
In addition to replacing the bridges, the project calls for lanes to be widened to 12 feet and the shoulder to 6 feet. There is currently no shoulder on the bridge.
The project, funded with state and federal dollars, had originally called for traffic to be rerouted to Routes 281 and 11.
After public outcry against the planned diversion, the state Department of Transportation altered its plans to divert northbound traffic onto the southbound lane of I-81, though it increased the cost of the project from the original $6 million.
I-81 traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction for a period of 10 to 14 days in early or mid-November. The interstate should be open to normal traffic before Thanksgiving, according to state DOT spokesman Gene Cilento.
The most controversial aspect of the project was not changed, however, as Preble Road has been closed since construction began and will remain closed until the first phase of the project is done in November. Residents’ primary concern was emergency response times as a result of the road being shut down.
The road will reopen in the winter but will close again when construction on the southbound bridge commences in the spring.
The total completion for both bridges in the project is expected to be Sept. 30 of next year. Slate Hill Constructors of Warners, Onondaga County, was awarded the contract in July.

To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe