Main Street bridge will close Oct. 17 in Albion until spring 2024

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 August 2022 at 9:28 pm

DOT also working on Brockport’s lift bridge as part of $28.3 million rehab for 2 bridges

Photo by Tom Rivers: Traffic moves along Main Street in Albion this evening. The Main Street lift bridge will close for about 18 months as part of a major rehabilitation of the bridge from 1914.

ALBION – The Main Street lift bridge will close to traffic on Oct. 17 and not reopen for about 18 months until the spring of 2024, the state Department of Transportation said this evening during a community meeting at Hoag Library.

The bridge from 1914 will get an extensive rehabilitation. It is part of a $28.3 million project that includes the Main Street lift bridge in Brockport. The bridge in Brockport is expected to close in April 2023 and reopen in the spring 2024.

Crane-Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport ins the general contractor on the two bridges. Crane-Hogan did the rehab work on seven canal bridges in Orleans County from 2018 to 2021. That was a $10.8 million project for the work on the single-lane truss bridges.

DOT officials said a planned closure for the two lift bridges is better than shutting down a bridge on an emergency.

“This is a planned event versus an emergency,” said DOT official said at this evening’s meeting. “We know what’s coming and everybody can plan for it.”

Michael Bonafede, owner of the Pratt and Day buildings in the downtown, speaks about the bridge project with engineer Jonathan Long.

The project includes replace the bridge deck and portions of the truss system with high-strength, galvanized steel. The lifting system’s mechanical and electrical components will be replaced and the lift towers rehabilitated. Crane-Hogan will also replace the bridge rails and repaint the bridge in the current shade of green.

“The work will modernize and fortify the internal workings of the bridge without comprising the external character that makes this bridge an iconic part of the Albion community,” the DOT in a brochure about the project.

Michael Bonafede, a downtown business and building owner, said the bridge closure for such an extended time will be a hardship on the community, especially the downtown merchants.

“It’s a huge project,” Bonafede said. “It’s going to be disruptive but the outcome is going to be worth it. It’s nice that they are saving the bridge. The Erie Canal is a tourist attraction.”

Bonafede shared concerns with DOT staff that some of the building owners will have lifts in the downtown for façade and window work as part of a Main Street initiative that was partially funded by the state.

Bonafede asked the DOT to not block off areas where some of that work will be done, including Morrison Realty which is close to the canal.

“In the end this is good for our community,” Bonafede said about a revamped bridge. “With a project this big you’re going to be inconvenienced. But for the long run, they’re going to make it better.”

Hoag Library hosted a meeting for the community to discuss the project with officials from the state Department of Transportation and Canal Corp.

Joyce Riley, the Albion deputy mayor, urged the community to make an extra effort to support the downtown merchants when the bridge is closed. She also said the closure could be a chance to hold events in the downtown that normally wouldn’t be possible because it is difficult to have the street blocked off.

She welcomes ideas from businesses and other community members for events in the downtown area while the bridge is closed.

“It’s going to affect the traffic pattern when everyone is skirting around the downtown,” Riley said.

She said the Main Street closure is the latest blow to the traffic flow in Albion, following the long-term closure of the Brown Street canal bridge about a decade ago and then the dismantling of the Clarendon Street bridge in the spring 2015.

“It’s getting harder and harder to get around in the community,” she said.

With the Main Street lift bridge closure, the DOT’s posted detour will be to utilize routes 31, 387 (Fancher Road), and 104 (Ridge Road). Most vehicles are expected to use the Ingersoll Street lift bridge in the village.

State DOT and Canal Corp. officials discuss the bridge project with community members at Hoag Library.

Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman attended the session in Albion. Brockport has been preparing for the closure of its Main Street lift bridge for the past year.

The village has a Bridging the Closure Committee with subcommittees on marketing, active transportation, vehicular traffic and events.

The groups are working on events on Main Street while the bridge is closed. Blackman said that could include having the farmers’ market right on the street and allowing restaurants to do outdoor service.

Brockport like Albion has a second lift bridge close by with the one on Park Avenue. Blackman said the village will have signs and notices to help route motorists around the community.

Brockport will also be encouraging biking and other “active transportation” during the closure. Some in the village think the closure could be an opportunity for the downtown merchants.

“We’re talking about how to market the closure and make it a positive,” Blackman said. “We want to get people interested in these bridges and how they work.”