WELLSBURG, N.Y. (WETM) – The Lowman Crossover bridge to the I-86 has been closed since April, and it’s going to reopen later than originally planned.
Rodney Strange, Chemung County Legislature Majority Leader, posted on Facebook in August that the delayed opening date was brought up in a Legislature Highway Committee meeting.
Andy Avery, Chemung County Public Works Director confirmed the delayed opening on September 14, saying the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the supply chain of steel beams needed for the bridge.
The beams were ordered in February 2021, and the delivery date has been delayed twice. They’re supposed to arrive on October 22, over a month later than the original September 6 date. “We may get more delays. We don’t know,” Avery said. He said the steel beams determine the timeline of every other part of the project.
As a result, the Lowman Crossover bridge has a tentative opening date of mid-December, but Strange and Avery said it could be even later.
Work will continue on the bridge even after it opens for traffic.
As for construction in the City of Elmira, Avery said the South Main Street bridge has a similar tentative opening date of mid-December. “The only good thing going there is that’s a rehab, so the steel beams are already in place. But there were delays caused by utilities early in the project.”
And the paving on Water Street in Elmira should be finished by the end of September.
“They’ll be doing paving this week… so that project is quickly coming to closure, which is great news for everybody,” said Avery. “It’s tentatively supposed to be wrapped up late-September, early-October. The contractor tells me late September, so I’m going to hold him to that.
Avery acknowledged the construction is an inconvenience to the community.
“Our biggest concern here is how this is affecting businesses on both sides of that bridge,” Avery said, talking specifically about the Lowman Crossover bridge. “It’s certainly affected their ability to make money, and we understand that. And we’re doing our best to keep the supply chain moving.” The county authorized the steel supplier to use a subcontractor to make the beams.
He said that while the county is concerned about the extra travel, especially emergency travel, with the detour, local residents have done a good job of making their own detours through the area.