Construction has begun on a $16.9 million project to rehabilitate the Western Gateway Bridge that carries Rte. 5 between the city of Schenectady and the village of Scotia in Schenectady County. The project includes the construction of a new, multiuse, shared lane across the bridge to connect bicycle and pedestrian pathways on both sides of the Mohawk River and is funded through the NY Works program.
“Adding a multiuse lane to the Western Gateway Bridge is a perfect example of the NY Works program in action: taking into account the needs of the local community, and then coordinating and putting forward a plan to get the project started now,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Through the NY Works program we will continue to fund critical infrastructure improvements across New York state to create jobs and make the state a better place to live for all our residents.”
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “With relatively low-cost changes, a standard bridge rehabilitation has been transformed into a project that fits well with the communities it serves and creates a multimodal structure that will improve safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. A direct bicycle and pedestrian link between two active neighborhoods provides safer commuting options and encourages recreational and sustainable travel between downtown Schenectady and Scotia.”
The work is being conducted through the design-build method, whereby design and construction run concurrently, saving time and money, and shortening travel inconveniences. 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 existing bridge has two travel lanes in each direction, which are now restricted to one lane in each direction. The lane closures will remain in place until construction is completed at the end of next year.
The existing bridge has two 12-ft travel lanes in each direction, with narrow shoulders and 4-ft sidewalks on each side. The lanes will be reconfigured to include one 11-ft travel lane in each direction, plus one 14-ft shared-use lane in each direction. The shared-use lanes will accommodate both motorists and bicyclists following the signed State Bike Rte. 5 over the bridge.
The west side of the bridge will feature a 5-ft sidewalk, which will comply with current Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The east side of the bridge will feature a 10-ft multiuse path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The multiuse path will connect existing paths on both sides of the river and attach Schenectady’s downtown area and Schenectady Community College with Scotia parks, a library and other village amenities. It also is consistent with the city of Schenectady Urban Bike Route Master Plan, created in 2001.
The work is 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.