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Ice pack keeps I-81 bridge closed through Saturday night

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Vehicles traveling south on Interstate 81 continued to be diverted onto Route 11 through Adams on Saturday evening as an ice pack against a bridge kept a section of the highway closed from Exit 43 at Kellogg Hill to Exit 38 near the Oswego County line.

“We’re still continuing to monitor the situation,” said Michael R. Flick, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation Region 7.

Mr. Flick said highway workers were hoping that a significant melt would help to flush out the ice jammed up against a bridge over South Sandy Creek.

If enough ice builds up, it could knock the structure off its bearings, according to Mr. Flick.

The northbound lane of I-81 runs over a separate bridge not affected by the ice buildup and so remained open.

Mr. Flick said that there was no set timeline for reopening the southbound bridge.

“We will reopen when the ice jam has subsided and no longer poses a threat to the structure and the traffic using it,” Mr. Flick said in a text message.

The closure caused some traffic congestion Friday afternoon in Adams, though things had calmed down by Friday evening and traffic flow remained normal on Route 11 through Saturday afternoon, according to Robert D. Simpson, public information officer for the Adams Fire Department.

Adams was hit hard by a snowstorm earlier in the week, and a closure of I-81 because of the storm resulted in numerous stranded travelers taking shelter at homes and municipal buildings in the area.

But warmer weather and rain Saturday have greatly diminished the accumulation.

“I can’t believe how much snow is gone,” Mr. Simpson said.

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