The Bridge Investment Program has already made significant strides in the past fiscal year, with $2.4 billion being invested in 2022. This program is a crucial component of the government's efforts to revamp the nation's bridges and represents the largest dedicated investment in bridge infrastructure since the construction of the Interstate Highway System.
One of the projects set to benefit from this funding is the restoration of the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge in Albany County, New York. The New York State Thruway Authority will receive $21 million from the Bridge Investment Program for this project. The announcement was made by Governor Kathy Hochul, who was joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Congressman Paul Tonko, and local representatives.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us the opportunity to address critical infrastructure needs across New York State,” Hochul said. “I thank President Biden for his commitment to investing in New York and Secretary Buttigieg for supporting this project to restore the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge, modernize our transportation system, and strengthen this vital economic corridor.”
The Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge, commonly known as the Castleton Bridge, has been an important transportation link since it opened to traffic in 1958. Stretching approximately one mile in length, the bridge connects the Berkshire Spur section to the Thruway's mainline, facilitating travel between Albany and Rensselaer counties over the Hudson River. With an average of 6.2 million vehicles, or 17,000 per day, traversing the bridge annually, it has become essential to address its aging infrastructure.
“While still safe for motorists, at 65 years of age, elements of the bridge have been determined through bridge inspections to have accelerated deterioration of the concrete deck, advanced section loss, and deterioration of the superstructure steel and bridge joints and non-conforming bridge rail, which requires significant capital investment to continue to maintain it,” said Frank G. Hoare, Thruway Authority Interim Executive Director.
The $21 million grant will supplement the overall cost of the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge project, estimated to be around $44 million. The funds will be used to replace the deteriorated eastbound bridge deck and address steel repairs and maintenance safety features. The current deck requires monthly repairs to remain operational, making the replacement a crucial step in ensuring the bridge's long-term viability. Additionally, repairs will be carried out on the steel girders and truss members, and concrete approach slabs will be installed. The existing concrete abutments will also undergo modifications, and the non-conforming bridge rail will be replaced with a conforming steel four-rail TL-4 system.
The construction project to replace the eastbound bridge deck is expected to commence in late spring 2024, following the bidding process that will take place in early spring of the same year. Design firm, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., is tasked with developing the project under oversight of the Thruway Authority Department of Engineering.
Meanwhile, a separate project is already underway on the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge, which will replace the westbound bridge deck at a cost of $47.6 million. This endeavor — which started in 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 — includes the deck replacement of the westbound travel lanes, repairs to the deck on the eastbound travel lanes, replacement of the center median, and bridge steel repairs. The completion of both projects will extend the superstructure's service life by an additional 50 years.
Aside from the longevity benefits, these improvements will enhance the reliability of the corridor by reducing the frequency of emergency repairs, lane closures, and traffic delays. The safety improvements include an improved riding surface, a crash-tested bridge railing, and upgraded roadway drainage systems to mitigate hydroplaning risks.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is investing in this bridge restoration project because it will provide residents and businesses in Albany County with more reliable access to transportation,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Over the next five years, the Bridge Investment Program will work to repair, replace, and rehabilitate structures that allow businesses to move their goods to market while helping people get to jobs, schools, doctors, and other vital destinations. This project is an investment in both the United States’ economic growth and in the safety and long-term resilience of the communities that make this country great.”