2001-04-21 / Front Page

A Glimpse Of The New Marine Park Bridge

By Aaron Zeidman

On Tuesday, April 10, representatives of the Rockaway community and its elected officials met with employees of MTA Bridges and Tunnels for an informative meeting concerning the Marine Parkway/ Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project. According to MTA official Robert Intelisano, the bridge is 60 percent complete, and should be finished by this time next year.

The meeting was designed to inform the public of the present state of the project, as well as to propose a date of completion. After reviewing the initial proposal, Intelisano also demonstrated that the project has kept remarkably true to plan.

The meeting focused on the lane change that will soon occur, shifting traffic to the completed half of the bridge. Officials explained the closures that are necessary to make the shift possible, and described some of the benefits travelers will soon experience.

Frank Pascual, Director of Public Affairs for MTA, said that the lanes will remain at a width of 10 feet. But the new bridge grating, a square rather than trapezoidal construction, will not cause the nerve-racking swerving feeling when driving between the lane barriers. Additional benefits will be a new concrete roadway and the opening of a pedestrian walkway over the bridge.

Facility Engineer Adrian Moshe described the extensive repairs the old structure was in need of. He gave a clear, technical explanation of the elaborate procedures the project crew has implemented to allow these repairs to go on while traffic over the bridge continues virtually uninterrupted.

Finally, the community representatives were given a walking tour of the bridge. A first, promising glimpse of the completed roadway was had by those brave enough to set foot.

The general response of community members was one of appreciation for the cooperation, timeliness, and communicativeness that MTA has demonstrated throughout the course of this project. MTA revised its original project plan after the community expressed concern over the load restrictions and construction closures that this plan entailed. With MTA’s cooperation, Green Bus Lines Q35 service over the bridge has continued without interruption and construction closures will have occurred during only two summers. The original plan scheduled closures during three summers.

According to officials, the completed bridge rehabilitation project will ensure greater longevity for the bridge, and increase passenger safety. The finished bridge promises four wider lanes, a centerline divider, a new paint job, electrical and traffic signal upgrades, and a decorative lighting system.

A reminder that this week, April 22—April 28 the bridge will be closed to traffic Monday to Wednesday from 10:00 p.m — 5:00 a.m. Customers should divert to the Cross Bay Bridge during the night construction periods. Customers should also be aware that there will be various toll lane closures from 7:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.

Left to Right: Carl Redmond, project engineer; Adrian Moshe, facility engineer; Fred Simmons, representing Sen. Malcolm Smith; Aaron Zeidman, associate editor of The Wave; Kevin Buckley, executive director Breezy Point Coop; Frank Pascual, director of public affairs, MTA; Marc Levy, bridge operations superintendent.

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