Choosing the path for Hooper Road Bridge

By Erika Mahoney

April 11, 2013 Updated Apr 12, 2013 at 8:53 AM EST

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new Hooper Road Bridge over 17C may still be more than a year off, but designers are reaching out to the public now for feedback.

The current bridge, built in 1964, is in need of significant repair.

Four alternatives are being reviewed by the New York State Department of Transportation, McFarland-Johnson, the design consultants working with Broome County, have a clear recommendation.

That recommendation involves closing the bridge completely for two to three weeks, rather than a partial closure, which would extend construction time for several months.

It's an innovate type of construction called accelerated bridge construction, where the pieces are built off site and then moved in.

On Thursday, designers explained why they choose their recommendation.

Emergency responders in the audience agreed with the pick.

"To give the best service to our residents on the north side of the railroad tracks, the least time the bridge is closed, would be helpful," said Roy Brady, vice president of Union Volunteer Emergency Response Squad. "A three-week closure, we can handle."

Brady said he's thankful the designers have been so inclusive in their process.

He also said the department will look into positioning service vehicles in other parts of the town during the construction.

Designers estimate the project will cost around $2 million.

A decision on the construction alternative is expected sometime in June.

If McFarland-Johnson's recommendation is approved, there will be a month of preparation work before the bridge is closed, succeeded by another month of follow-up construction.

The work is expected to begin in either the spring or summer of 2014.