State DOT engineers are keeping a close eye on an Interstate 81 bridge in Binghamton where settling has continued at an alarming rate since it was built eight years ago.

A project is underway to address the problem at the span over Chenango Street on the city's North Side.

Work started a couple of weeks ago as crews began to dig a trench next to the sidewalk on the east side of the roadway under the bridge.

Workers digging a trench under the I-81 bridge on Chenango Street on July 30, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Special monitoring equipment has been installed to track ongoing sinking at the site of the structure, which was built using dozens of precast concrete sections.

New York State Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Cook said "uncharacteristic settlement" has been detected at the site.

Cook said despite the settling, "everything is safe for travel." He said the work being performed is being done "out of an abundance of caution to preserve the structure's 75-year design life."

DOT engineers frequently are seen on Chenango Street surveying the area around and under the bridge. They were observed at work at the site again on Saturday.

Previous WNBF News Coverage from 2014: Binghamton Bridge Deemed Safe, Despite "Settling"

Settling at the bridge has been a concern since shortly after it was built in 2013. Motorists noticed some of the concrete sections had moved within months after it was constructed.

Drivers also noticed water pouring down between the precast pieces during rain storms.

A DOT spokesman at the time said engineers "had been expecting some settling" of the bridge and that the drainage issues were being addressed.

The DOT has been monitoring ongoing sinking at the I-81 bridge site in Binghamton. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

The current work to stabilize the bridge is expected to take at least two months to complete.

The span over Chenango Street was built as part of the $152 million project to redesign the "Kamikaze Curve" Route 17/Interstate 81 interchange. Lancaster Development and Tully Construction was the general contractor.

Crews from Slate Hill Constructors now are working at the Chenango Street site.

No cost estimate of the new work has been made public. It's not known whether the state will be reimbursed for the efforts to stabilize the bridge.

A special concrete mix is to be poured at the base of the I-81 bridge over Chenango Street. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com or (607) 772-8400 extension 233.

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

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