Lane closures on the Skyway begin Monday in advance of short-term bridge maintenance and repairs next year while New York State will begin studying the future of the elevated roadway.
The initial work will last about six weeks, and take place between the Thruway and the Outer Harbor Drive exit, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Daily lane closures will occur from approximately 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the westbound (outbound) Skyway, and from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the eastbound (inbound) lanes. That will affect more than 40,000 motorists a day who travel on the Skyway.
The lane closures will allow work in preparation for a series of maintenance projects to rehabilitate the bridge deck and perform structural steel repairs. That will take place while the state is undergoing a long-range environmental study on the future of the Skyway, which takes Route 5 over the Buffalo River.
“We do need to address the ongoing maintenance issues in the short term while we advance that (study),” said Susan Surdej, spokeswoman for the DOT, “just to ensure the Skyway remains open and acceptable and safe for all users, which it actually is.”
Short-term maintenance will include:
• A netting system to be installed starting Monday, to wrap the bridge fascia, or edge beam, and transverse bridge joints of the structure in the Canalside area. The netting system will extend 1,400 feet from the Buffalo River to Commercial Street.
• The project to repair the bridge fascia along the entire length of the Skyway will be put out to bid next spring.
• A project to rehabilitate the bridge deck, including structural steel repairs and bridge joint replacements, will be put out for bid in the winter of 2017.
Long-term work includes an environmental impact study of the Skyway and surrounding transportation corridors, including a comprehensive review for potential long-term changes. The study will address mobility, environmental, cultural and economic impacts, as well as any necessary mitigation actions, associated with the removal or replacement of the Skyway.
“It’s looking at all our options,” Surdej said. “Nothing is ruled out.”
She said the state plans to procure a consultant next year for the environmental impact statement, which includes a process of scoping and preliminary design.