East Old State Road bridge to close at end of March for seven months 

Enterprise file photo — MIchael Koff
Work will start March 23 on rebuilding the East Old State Road bridge over the Thruway, causing the bridge to be closed for seven months in both directions. The bridge, built in 1955, is viewed from below.

GUILDERLAND — The New York State Thruway Authority has announced a starting date for the closure in both directions of the East Old State Road bridge over the Thruway: March 23. The bridge is located between East Lydius Street and Oak Tree Lane. 

Work on the bridge, which will be taken down and built new, will take seven months, the Thruway Authority estimates.  

Bob Haber, lead foreman of the Guilderland Highway Department, said on Feb. 27 that the bridge closure will slow down the department’s work. Going around — via either Curry Road, Curry Road Extension, and Kings Road, or via Western Avenue and Route 155 — will add another 30 or even 40 minutes for vehicles sent out to do work on the roads, he said.

Haber said his concern would be for the way that the closure might affect first responders, as well as the many people who travel over East Old State Road to work. 

Jay Tyler, director of Emergency Medical Operations for Guilderland, said that it won’t affect response time for ambulance service in the town. 

“The public shouldn’t fear. We’re able to get to them from either the east or the west,” he said.

Tyler explained that rigs are stationed at two locations on Western Avenue — Center Drive in Westmere and at the Guilderland firehouse — and could approach from either direction, depending on the address.

Further afield, the town also has a paramedic fly car stationed in Altamont, at the Altamont Rescue Squad, Tyler added.  

Peter Busa, chief of the Fort Hunter Volunteer Fire Company, said, “It will definitely affect our response.” Fort Hunter covers the entire area, he said, including Oaktree Lane, Acorn Court, Old State Road up to the city line (past Kings Road), and Kings Road all the way up to Curry Road Extension.

The Fort Hunter fire district is bounded by Rotterdam to the north, Albany to the east, East Old State Road to the southeast, and roughly by West Old State Road to the southwest. 

Busa noted that he lives on Oaktree Lane, on the far side of the Thruway bridge. 

The fire company is currently working, he said, with several mutual-aid companies “to make sure the appropriate resources are coming from any and all directions.” 

As a result of the mutual-aid agreements, residents shouldn’t see much of a difference in response time, Busa said. “It might physically take Fort Hunter’s engine longer to get there. But an engine getting on scene will not necessarily be a longer amount of time,” he said. 

For example, he said, “A resident might see a Guilderland engine arrive before ours.” 

He was not ready by press time to name the companies that will provide mutual aid, since he had not yet heard back from some of the chiefs he had contacted.

 

Why rebuild? 

“The goal of this project is to bring it up to current standards,” Todd Gold, director of government relations for the Thruway Authority, told The Enterprise a year ago. 

The current bridge, from 1955, is deteriorating and is not up to code, he said. It is almost two-and-a-half feet shorter in terms of clearance than today’s standards. The bridge, which crosses over the Thruway, has been hit twice in the past, Gold said. 

The new bridge will also have 6-foot-wide shoulders, which will make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, he said; the bridge will have wider travel lanes, and the approaches on both sides will be rebuilt. 

The work is being done by local firm Bette & Cring Construction Group. ​

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