Prospect Mountain Project: 17W bridge to open Friday

By Jillian Marshall

July 16, 2014 Updated Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new bridge through the Prospect Mountain Project is nearly ready to open just three weeks after the 81 North ramp closed.

The 17 West Bridge is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. Friday, according to the NYS Department of Transportation.

Final preparations to open the bridge have been taking place for the last few days.

Drivers traveling to route 17 west and I-81 north will see the biggest changes.

When the bridge opens, drivers traveling west, toward Johnson City, will have to get into the left lane earlier because there will now be a barrier splitting the lanes near the Chenango Street bridge, instead of near the Chenango River.

"The 17 westbound traffic will continue across the new 17 structure, and the I-81 northbound traffic will be on temporary roadways to be able to transition back to the existing I-81 northbound bridge," said NYSDOT region 9 director Jack Williams.

This is the second of four new bridges opening in Phase 1 of the Prospect Mountain Project, something the DOT said is a huge milestone.

"Some of the major things that you'll see happening are the demolition of the westbound, existing westbound structure, that will be coming down so we can continue with I-81 structures," Williams said.

The old route 17 west bridge will be knocked down throughout the next week.

In order to open the bridge for the morning commute Friday, the DOT is closing the 17 west bridge at 9 p.m. Thursday to pave the new bridge.

All westbound traffic will be detoured through the SUNY Broome exit, which is exit 5 in the town of Dickinson, and loop around to 17 west.

When the new bridge opens, it will also bump the 81 northbound lanes down to one lane for about a week.

Williams said with this opening, 70 percent of Phase 1 of the Prospect Mountain Project will be completed.