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Is the DOT spending more and getting less? The Real Deal

Heavily traveled I-690 Eastbound will shut down once more this weekend for a bridge reconstruction project that uses a new, more efficient method.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Heavily traveled I-690 Eastbound will shut down once more this weekend for a bridge reconstruction project that uses a new, more efficient method.

The method might be a time saver, but is it saving money?

When crews replace the 690 deck over Crouse Avenue this weekend with pre-cast parts, the project will likely cost 20 to 30 percent more than if the DOT were to opt for poured concrete.

State officials say such construction projects are always a balancing act between time and money.

“It's a trade-off to see how much extra is it going to cost, versus how much delay to the traveling public is there going to be,” said Gene Cilento of the New York State Department of Transportation.

Thanks to the use of pre-cast parts, this weekend's project will shut down 690 for only a few days, rather than a few months.

The fix will last as long as it would were crews to use poured concrete. The lifespan of each bridge is 50 years.

The Crouse Avenue bridge project is one of 13 rebuilds between Syracuse and Utica that will cost New York State a total of $17.4 million. It comprises the final phase of the year for the I-690 project.

There will, however, be one more deck-replacement project in 2012 for a major Central New York highway. In November, the DOT is planning a project for 481 Northbound over Kirkville Road.

Next year, the department is planning more pre-cast replacements for I-81.

And for those who have noticed a bumpy ride over the 690 bridge panels that have already been replaced, the DOT says crews will return within the next month-or-so to grind the deck surfaces and make them less bumpy.

If you want to know the Real Deal about something, call the Your Stories team at (315) 446-9900 or email YourStories@9wsyr.com.

Note: The DOT initially told NewsChannel 9 that each of the new bridges would last 30 years, but corrected that information. The new bridges will last 50 years.


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