It's taking highway repair crews a lot longer to deal with a sinking section of Interstate 81 in Binghamton than experts had hoped.

The "big dip" in the southbound right lane of the highway near the troubled bridge over Chenango Street is receiving more attention in an overnight repair project this week.

Emergency construction operations were underway on I-81 in Binghamton on May 2, 2024. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Emergency construction operations were underway on I-81 in Binghamton on May 2, 2024. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)The state Department of Transportation initially expected the problem could be addressed with a one-day paving project a couple of weeks ago.
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The DOT described the trouble as "settlement of the roadway" but some motorists who've driven over the sinking segment are concerned it may be an indicator of a serious issue.

The spot is located just east of the I-81 bridge over Chenango Street that started sinking shortly after it was built just over a decade ago.

FLASHBACK: Construction work under an Interstate 81 bridge in Binghamton on October 1, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
FLASHBACK: Construction work under an Interstate 81 bridge in Binghamton on October 1, 2021. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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A complicated and costly scheme was devised to address what the DOT called "uncharacteristic settlement" of that bridge. The project - which cost several million dollars - resulted in the closure of Chenango Street around the span for almost 15 months.

The urgent repair project now underway near the Brandywine Highway is being done at night to minimize the impact on traffic. The work is scheduled between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

A view of the I-81 "Big Dip" section from the Brandywine Highway in Binghamton. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
A view of the I-81 "Big Dip" section from the Brandywine Highway in Binghamton. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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When the DOT announced the new round of repairs, it said the work was expected to take at least seven days to complete.

An agency spokesperson this week said the cause of the latest Interstate 81 "settlement" problem had not been determined.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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