A major reconstruction project is coming to a bridge near you.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun outreach on what will be a four-year project that will include a complete replacement of the roadway and structural steel supports on the Throgs Neck’s Bridge’s suspended span.
The contract should be awarded shortly and prep work should begin in early 2019 with the bridge deck reconstruction itself expected to commence in 2020, according to the MTA.
The construction will mark the first time that the suspended roadway deck will be completely replaced since it was constructed in the late 1950s, though a MTA spokesman stated that elevated viaduct approaches to the bridge was rebuilt in the 1980s, Queens connecting roads were redone in 1994 and there was a 2010 concrete deck replacement on the Queens approach.
Community leaders who were being filled in on the plan, which will include replacing the deck steel under the roadway with lighter but stronger steel, expressed a desire to work with the MTA as well as concerns about possible ramifications for traffic on service roads and streets near Locust Point, Pennyfield and Harding avenues and the Throgs Neck Expressway.
Rob Barbarelli, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association vice president, said that the organization is in favor of infrastructure improvement but is concerned about traffic backups on the I-495 and local roads.
“Additionally, the members would be in favor of closing the Harding Avenue on-ramp on weekends and holidays while this construction is occurring,” said Barbarelli.
In the past, when traffic backs up on the expressway, motorists sometimes use the Throgs Neck Expressway service road as a shortcut to reach the Harding Avenue on-ramp, in some cases blocking Locust Point Road, the only access point to Locust Point, said Joe Donovan, Locust Point Civic Association president.
Barbarelli also said the community would likely request that lane closures only occur when there is work going on, and that work be done at night if possible.
“I know they have a job to do, but I hope they do it with as little disruption to the community as possible,” said Donovan, adding he would like to go over the full plan at a town-hall style event.
An MTA spokesman said that the project is expected to take four years in total, but the bridge deck will only be under construction for a portion of this time.
MTA’s plan calls for the using moveable barriers that have been successfully implemented in past bridge deck reconstructions, which will allow the bridge to maintain full capacity travel lanes during morning and evening rushes, said the spokesman.
All work will be coordinated with the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, stated the MTA spokesman.
The new deck should improve the seismic and wind performance of the bridge, stated the spokesman.
Upgrades will also include structural reinforcement, new fire standpipe, painting, lighting, and new medians and side barriers.
Matt Cruz, Community Board 10 district manager, said that it seems probable that the MTA will be before the board to discuss the plan soon.
“We look forward to this conversation and we are sure the community is going to have a lot of questions,” said Cruz.