A civic group on City Island wants answers from the city Department of Transportation about damage to a portion of a temporary bridge being constructed to provide continuous access to the island during construction of the new one.
The bridge, that was to have opened in October, sustained damage at a roadway joint.
This incident apparently occurred when heavy construction equipement was pouring the new roadway’s asphalt surface, according to members of the City Island Civic Association and pictures obtained by the Bronx Times Reporter.
A DOT official sent correspondence to a community member with an initial report the day after the incident, describing what he termed the bridge ‘failure.’
“One of the pre-fabricated sections of the temporary bridge failed during our road paving operations,” stated the DOT official of the Monday, September 21 incident. “It is being replaced and an investigation is underway.”
The temporary bridge is being constructed so that the existing City Island Bridge, the community’s only connection by road to the Bronx’ mainland, built more than a century ago, can be demolished, can be replaced with a new causeway.
Members of the CICA met with DOT officials at their monthly meeting, on Tuesday, September 29, just as this story went to press.
The initial response by community leaders was that they wanted to know the cause of the bridge’s woes.
John Doyle, a CICA board member, said that the completion date on the temporary bridge has been pushed back several times, and upon hearing the news, he questioned whether an October date was realistic.
“I am just happy that no one got hurt and that this happened before the temporary bridge opened,” said Doyle.
He also said that several other issues had arisen during the construction of the connection, including large screws left on City Island Avenue’s road bed by the contractor that led to numerous flat tires.
Fellow CICA board member Barbara Dolensek said she was concerned because even if the contractor had miscalculated the weight of the asphalt equipment, heavy equipment would need to travel over the temporary bridge.
There are construction projects on the island that require the movement of large equipment over the temporary bridge, she noted.
She cautioned that the temporary bridge has to be able to handle the weight of these vehicles as well as the large trucks that make deliveries to the island on a daily basis, just as the existing bridge did.
Elected officials are also awaiting word from the DOT as to what happened.
James Vacca said he was eager to hear what DOT would say on the matter, and said that he took exception with what he said was the DOT’s lack of notification of elected officials.
“I was not notified and I was not consulted, and I too am awaiting an explanation as to how this could happen, and what this portends for the construction of the temporary bridge going forth,” said Vacca.
Senator Jeff Klein said in a statement that city DOT kept his office informed of its efforts to ensure safety on the new bridge.