2012-03-30 / Community

Bridge Lifts To Continue Through April

By Nicholas Briano

A barge traveling beneath the Marine Parkway Bridge. A barge traveling beneath the Marine Parkway Bridge. The Marine Parkway Bridge lifts, and accompanying traffic delays, will continue for another month through mid- April to make it possible for US Army Corps of Engineers to complete the next phase of the Jamaica Bay marshlands restoration project.

The Yellow Bar Hassock Marsh Island Restoration Project in Jamaica Bay, which began in January, aims to replenish the vanishing marsh islands within the Bay. As a result, Bridges and Tunnels intermittently raises the bridge to facilitate transporting heavy loads of sand by barge to reach Jamaica Bay through the waterway inlet.

The barges are used to transfer sand to the site, but require clearance under the bridge to safely allow the vessels to travel. The bridge can be raised 95 feet in two minutes and provide clearance up to 150 feet at mean high water. Fifteen minute delays, however, can be expected each time the bridge is lifted, through the end of April.

According to the Corps, to minimize the impact to daily commuters during rush hour, the bridge lifts will occur primarily during off peak hours, when there are the fewest number of vehicles on the road. However, the barges aren’t always able go under the bridge at nonpeak hours, resulting in those inconvenient rush hours delays, as many Rockaway residents are well aware.

The $19 million restoration is taking place on the north side of Yellow Bar Marsh. In order to complete the project, a large section of pipeline was submerged on December 29 from the northern end of Yellow Bar Marsh to a point off the tip of the Rockaway peninsula.

Previous marsh island restoration activities occurred in January 2010 when the bridge was lifted to facilitate the safe transfer of sand by barge to restore Elders Island.

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