By Larry Austin
Depending on the weather, nightly closures of the Southbound North Grand Island Bridge and traffic switchover to the northbound span will begin the week of April 6.
Tom Hurley, assistant division director for engineering, who manages the construction program for the Buffalo division of the Thruway Authority, explained the project at a meeting Tuesday in Town Hall that was attended by local stakeholders.
Chris Hulse, New York State Thruway Authority project manager for the rehabilitation of the bridges, said bridge deck panel replacement on the $55 million project will begin about April 20, depending on the weather.
"A lot of this is temperature-sensitive," Hurley added. "You need temperatures at 40 degrees and rising in order to be able to place concrete and have it cure."
The closures will follow a similar pattern as those conducted during the 2013 redecking of the South Grand Island Bridge, with traffic moving to one bridge. On a nightly basis, the Southbound North Grand Island Bridge will close from Sunday night through Friday morning starting at 8 p.m. and reopening at 6 a.m. Southbound traffic will be detoured onto the adjacent northbound bridge, with two-way traffic maintained with a single lane in each direction.
Hulse said the contractor, Cianbro, signed a lease agreement to park employee cars by Kelly's Country Store, and workers will be bused from there to the worksite. Cianbro's contract completion date is Nov. 20.
In 2014, on the northbound bridge, work completed included substructure repair, bearing replacement, replacement of the sidewalk, repair to the curb on the off-ramp to Buffalo Avenue, replacement of overhead sign structures and replacement of overhead lighting.
In 2015, anticipated work includes completion of substructure sealing, continuation and completion of electrical upgrades and replacements (lane use signals, navigation lights and roadway lights), installation of overhead sign structures and installation of underdeck scaffolding on the southbound span.
Nightly southbound bridge lane closures are scheduled for April to October.
Work will include:
"We're going to start out slow. Maximum we'll be replacing is six panels per night, but we're going to start out doing two panels and we're going to be gradually work our way up," Hulse said.
Hurley said "liquidated damages" of $125,000 to help motivate the contractor to stay on schedule will be assessed if the bridge does not reopen by 6 a.m.
Unlike the south bridge work in 2013 that involved large cranes on barges, smaller cranes will work on top of the bridges, Hulse said.