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West Colvin St. Bridge Reopening & Ribbon Cutting

The City of Syracuse recently celebrated the reopening of the West Colvin Street Bridge over Onondaga Creek. On September 3rd, 2021, Mayor Walsh, the City of Syracuse Department of Engineering, LaBella, and the construction team were joined by Candy Edwards and children from her neighborhood daycare at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The bridge is located at the southern end of the Syracuse Creekwalk Phase II project that was completed in July of 2020. The paved pedestrian and bike trail along Onondaga Creek is a natural attraction on the City’s Southside and is often used by residents of the area.

Each week during construction, Candy Edwards and the children from her local daycare (pictured above) delivered lunch to the construction crew. LaBella Project Manager Wayne Frye was frequently on the project site and said “The first time I saw Candy driving into the construction site I thought she might be lost. I was informed it was just Candy making a food delivery. I didn’t know who Candy was but thought it was pretty unusual for a construction contractor to have lunch delivered. Afterward, I found out that Candy and her daycare children would pass by the construction site on their way to the Creekwalk. Candy immediately struck up a relationship with the construction crew and LaBella’s construction inspector and began bringing food for the workers. She wouldn’t accept any payment and looked forward to the project being completed. Candy and the children officially opened the bridge to traffic on September 3rd in time for the Labor Day holiday and before the first day of school.”

In April of 2019 LaBella Associates was selected by the City of Syracuse to perform engineering services for the scoping, preliminary, final design, and construction inspection for the rehabilitation of West Colvin Street Bridge over Onondaga Creek, a federally funded project within the City of Syracuse. The rehabilitation consisted primarily of bridge deck repair and wearing surface replacement, bridge joint replacement, curbing and sidewalks repaired or replaced, installing new bridge railing, replacing the bridge bearings, localized painting of the steel girders at both abutments, and abutment and wingwall repairs.

LaBella started design work in November of 2019 and things were progressing on schedule until March 2020. A public information meeting to discuss the project details with local residents and stakeholders was planned for March 23, 2020, but due to the Coronavirus, an alternate way to inform the public was needed. The City of Syracuse defined an area around the project and various stakeholders who needed to be directly informed of the project. LaBella’s Data Intelligence Group used the area identified by the City to develop a mailing list. On April 20, 2020, the City issued a press release seeking public input and posted project details online while LaBella mailed more than 350 informational flyers about the project directly to the residents and businesses most affected. Although the Coronavirus delayed the design process, the goal to complete construction in the summer of 2021 was achieved.

The construction contract was bid in February 2021 and awarded to Vector Construction Corporation. Vector had built the bridge in 1982 and was asked back 39 years later to rehabilitate it. In May of 2021, Vector mobilized the site and LaBella began construction inspection services. Although the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and an off-site was established, the bridge remained opened for pedestrian traffic throughout construction.

As part of the construction work, LaBella had specified the installation of a polyester polymer concrete (PPC) wearing surface. This material would provide a very durable (30-year service life) and waterproof riding surface to the existing bridge deck. The day before construction started LaBella received a request from Kwik Bond Polymers, a PPC supplier, to consider an alternate material for the PPC overlay. The alternate material is a next-generation innovation that is mixed, placed, and finished identical to traditional PPC but with 7x higher abrasion resistance. The material is a new release by Kwik Bond called Hybrid Composite Synthetic Concrete (HCSC), and the enhanced properties are achieved by using cutting-edge resin technologies to increase the resin properties three-fold. Due to the enhanced wear resistance and increased strength, Kwik Bond projects the HCSC to have at least a 60-to-75-year service life compared to 30-year design service life for PPC. New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Materials Division was aware of the HCSC material but no projects outside of California have used it. Being a federal aid project, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval was needed. LaBella worked with Kwik Bond and the NYSDOT to develop the specification for installation and to obtain FHWA approval. The installation went well and the W. Colvin Street Bridge now has the first installation of HCSC in New York.

LaBella was honored to be a part of this bridge rehabilitation project which improves safety and mobility for the residents of the City’s Southside community.

To learn more about this story, read this press release from Our City who provided the photos shown in the gallery above.