After no activity for the past month, construction crews have returned to do more testing at a sinking Interstate 81 bridge in Binghamton.

Workers from Slate Hill Constructors - based near Syracuse - were at the job site under the heavily-traveled highway bridge on the city's North Side Monday.

While thousands of cars, trucks and buses pass over the span every day, Chenango Street under the bridge has been closed since last summer.

Chunks of concrete in the Chenango Street work zone under the I-81 bridge on April 18, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Chunks of concrete in the Chenango Street work zone under the I-81 bridge on April 18, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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The state Department of Transportation has declined to provide a detailed explanation about the problems involving the bridge, which was built in 2013 as part of the massive Prospect Mountain Project.

But an agency spokesman provided some information about what's now taking place. In an email responding to questions from WNBF News, the he wrote that workers are doing a "test pour using the Cast-in-Place method."

The spokesman reported the DOT "recently completed a test section using shotcrete (sprayed on concrete) as part of the bridge retrofit." But that technique "did not perform as expected."

Workers from Slate Hill Constructors near an I-81 bridge repair project on April 18, 2022 Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Workers from Slate Hill Constructors near an I-81 bridge repair project on April 18, 2022 (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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According to the agency statement: "Following a detailed analysis by DOT and national experts, an alternative approach is being adopted." That's the cast-in-place method that now is being tested.

Part of the city's North Side has been isolated since Chenango Street was shut down for what was billed as a three-month closure. The DOT spokesman wrote: "The duration of the closure will be clearer when more detailed testing is completed."

The statement said "the public can be assured that the bridge is safe."

The DOT has not indicated whether Interstate 81 traffic eventually will be affected by the ongoing repair operations.

State officials won't comment on how much the repair project ultimately will cost. The original plan was expected to cost about $3.5 million.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com.

For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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