2006-05-12 / Community

Major Work Starts This Fall On Cross Bay And Marine Pk. Bridges

By Brian Magoolaghan

Facility Engineer Adrian M. Moshe, left, and Project Manager Romolo DeSantis, of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, present bridge construction plans.Facility Engineer Adrian M. Moshe, left, and Project Manager Romolo DeSantis, of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, present bridge construction plans.

Rockaway's two most important links to the mainland are slated for long-term construction projects that will bring limited access and traffic delays, representatives from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels said Tuesday night.

Contracts for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial and the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial bridges will be awarded in the fall and the projects, 36 and 30 months in duration respectively, will begin shortly thereafter, according to the MTA. The Cross Bay project is more extensive than that of the Marine Parkway, which received a major overhaul about six years ago.

MTA Facility Engineer Adrian M. Moshe and Project Manager Romolo DeSantis outlined the project for members of Community Board 14 and an audience of about 40 people.

The Cross Bay Bridge, connecting Rockaway Beach and Broad Channel, will undergo replacement and/or repairs of: the asphalt roadway, wearing surface and deck joints; concrete closure points; T-girder flanges; concrete diaphragms; concrete barriers on the main bridge; railings along the sidewalk on main bridge; deck drainage and fire protection systems; and repairs to cracked concrete pier caps, stems, piles and pile caps.

In order to "minimize impact on our customers," the MTA said work will be completed in four stages, which will each bring a different set of ramp closures and tricky detours.

"Ramps will not be closed during the summer months," DeSantis said. "We understand how critical that is."

According to the plans, two northbound and two southbound lanes will remain open during peak traffic hours. Moshe and DeSantis, for example, said traffic would not be reduced to one lane on the northbound side of the bridge until after 9 a.m. on weekdays.

Traffic agents would be used "as necessary" and at the start of each stage, they said. Pedestrians will be provided bus service when the sidewalk is closed, which will be for one stage only.

Despite the MTA's efforts, CB14 Chairperson Delores Orr said the project would have a "tremendous impact on Rockaway Beach." She suggested that the MTA transfer the Cross Bay Bridge discount for residents to the Marine Parkway, but Moshe all but dismissed her idea. "We're from the engineering side of it," he said.

The issue of emergency evacuations was also at the forefront of board members' minds; DeSantis said the MTA briefed the Office of Emergency Management on the construction projects. OEM releases its revised evacuation plans next month, at which point there should be more answers about how they plan to deal with the potential for ramp and lane closures. One thing seemed clear to everyone present: It won't make evacuating any easier.

Michel Tubridy asked whether the project addresses handicapped accessibility and a potentially dangerous condition created by the old bridges pilings, which are still in Jamaica Bay. Tubridy criticized the MTA and the Federal government for not making accessibility part of this project.

"It's part our next capital project," Moshe said. On the issue of the pilings, a stock response was given: "We'll take a look at it and we will address it," DeSantis said. "This is the first time it has been brought to our attention."

+ Marine Parkway Bridge

The 30-month project on the Marine Parkway Bridge involves repairs to the steel of the deck, truss spans, through-truss spans and the bridge's towers. It will not require partial closures but could cause some nighttime closures, DeSantis said. The anticipated completion date is March 2009, according to the MTA.

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