WILMINGTON - State Department of Transportation officials on Thursday will hold a public information meeting about the replacement of the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the AuSable River.
The bridge, located near the Four Corners in the hamlet of Wilmington, is "nearly 80 years old, is deteriorating, and about to reach the end of its life cycle," according to a DOT pamphlet on the meeting. Without major work, the DOT explains that the weight restriction would have to be reduced.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the AuSable Room of the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center. The project presentation will take 30 minutes and will be followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session and a 30-minute one-on-one question session.
The purpose of the meeting is to review the bridge replacement, including construction timeline, traffic control and impacts to businesses and residents.
Most of the construction is planned for the spring of 2015, with miscellaneous work to be finished that summer. With the bridge closed, there will be a detour for about 90 days starting around March 1 with regular traffic over the bridge to resume around June 1. The Springfield Road and Fox Farm Road will be designated as the official detour route.
"We want to minimize the effects of traffic disruptions on local businesses," the pamphlet states. "DOT worked with several town officials and businesses to determine the best time to complete this work in order to minimize disruptions."
As such, the DOT will install "All Businesses Open" signs along the highway to encourage people to stop at the businesses. The goal is to have the bridge replacement complete by the busy summer tourist season.
DOT officials studied having a temporary one-lane bridge instead of closing the bridge for 90 days and found that it is not practical.
During construction, the town of Wilmington will experience temporary utility shutdowns as the lines above the current bridge are relocated.
The new bridge will include wider shoulders for bicyclists, decorative lighting and an interpretive park at the nearby town park with a plaque providing information about the town and current bridge.
For more information, call project manager Denise Authement at 518-485-8769.