Brace yourselves downtown commuters- the orange barrels and cones are coming back as bridge deck replacements are set to begin on Interstate-81 Friday at 6 p.m.
For a ten day period, construction crews will be working to replace old decks in the southbound direction for two miles between East Adams Street and East Calthrop Avenue. Department of Transportation Officer Gene Cilento says while this work may temporarily disturb city traffic flow, this is an opportunity for productivity.
“Just remember that there is a lot of work going on downtown, but from our standpoint, it’s a good thing because there’s a lot of need out there and this is the season to do it. We can’t work between November and March like other places can; we have a very limited window where it can be done and that’s why it seems everything is under construction this year.”
Cilento says this period of construction is similar to the work that was done earlier this summer on 690. This may be unpleasant news for drivers who remember the long lines and traffic jams from a couple of weeks ago. Dave Finizio (FIH-niz-io), an employee of Destiny USA’s Opti-Golf believes businesses close to the downtown area will suffer as well.
“The surrounding roads around the Destiny USA aren’t meant for heavy traffic anyways. With the backup on 81 with the construction and the detours of others cars, I don’t think people want to wait in line. If it’s nice out they certainly won’t want to be in their cars all day so people are going to say, ‘let’s not go to the mall today, let’s go somewhere else’.”
Traffic detour options include I-481, I-690, and city streets. After workers complete this ten day project, they will turn-around and shift their attention to the northbound bridges beginning at 9 a.m. Friday August 9th.