Binghamton Residents Want to Know When Chenango St. Will Reopen
Eleven months after a key Binghamton street was shut down for an Interstate 81 bridge repair job, state transportation officials are unable to say when detours will end.
Chenango Street was closed to vehicular traffic from Bevier to Frederick streets last September for what was expected to be a three-month project.
The detour has eliminated a direct route for people traveling from downtown Binghamton to sections of the city's North Side into the village of Port Dickinson.
Repair work was ordered because of problems with the I-81 bridge built in 2013 as part of the massive project to redesign the interchange with Route 17.
The first sign of trouble with bridge constructed with precast concrete arches was discovered soon after its completion. Water was seen pouring between concrete sections during times of heavy rain and it appeared some of the arches had moved a few inches.
The Department of Transportation began closely monitoring the apparent sinking of the bridge and engineers concluded the "settling" was unacceptable.
People who operate businesses on Chenango Street north of the bridge say customers have expressed frustration with the long-running detour. Signs recently were installed indicating that "local businesses remain open."
Residents have said the closure also has slowed the response of emergency crews.
The city's nearest fire station is on West State Street, three-tenths of a mile south of the I-81 bridge. Fire equipment and medics from that station must take a detour using Route 363 to respond to calls on the north side of the construction zone.
Although work has been continuing on the bridge repair project, the DOT has not released a new target date for completion.
Officials also won't provide a new cost estimate for the work. The project's cost initially was expected to be about $3.5 million.
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