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Plans in the works to replace Rexford bridge
REXFORD - When the DOT laid out its plan Thursday night to replace the Rexford Bridge, some in the room at the local firehouse expressed their doubts. Concerns run from expected headaches caused by drivers who don't know how to use a roundabout to a feared reduction in response times from the local fire department.
The project director, Richard Filkins, told the crowd any improvement to the stretch or road between Riverview in Rexford and Aqueduct in Niskayuna will improve travel through that congested area. He said travel time would be reduced by a third through the use of a new through-lane heading north at the intersection of 146 and Riverview, a roundabout on the Niskayuna side and the addition of one southbound lane on the new bridge. Filkins said DOT took a "hard look" at building a four-lane bridge but said the cost and the extended construction time were two factors weighing against that idea. He said such a plan would also have require four lanes all the way from the bridge to each intersection, which would have required an environmental impact study.
Filkins said the project will cost about $25 million. The design approval is expected in March. Filkins says the type of bridge has not yet been selected but it may well end up looking like the Crescent bridge between Colonie and Halfmoon. According to Filkins, the money for the job has yet to be secured and he had no estimate for how long the construction will take. He said the earliest it would begin is sometime next year.
The bridge was built in 1965 and carries 22,000 vehicle a day. Filkins said the new bridge, to be built just west of the existing one, will include a lane for pedestrians and bicyclists. According to Filkiins no historic buildings will be affected and there will be twenty-three private property-takings. He said the property includes no structures, only small strips of land.
Rexford Assistant Fire Chief Ed Krowiecki said he is concerned about the plan to close the north end of Main Street, a move he says will affect their response times, possibly by less than a minute. He pointed out in an emergency every second counts. DOT Spokesman Bryan Viggiani told CBS6 News, the Main Street closure is "very much up in the air. We are taking the concerns of the residents and the fire department very seriously."
One man suggested a better plan would be to build yet another bridge over the river at a different location. Filkins said there's no money for it. He said funding levels also prevent making the lanes on the bridge reversible, saying that would require people to move barriers when necessary.