2012-06-01 / Community

Rockaway Toll Plazas Getting Makeover


Protesters at the Cross Bay Bridge toll plaza earlier this year. Protesters at the Cross Bay Bridge toll plaza earlier this year. MTA Bridges and Tunnels is sprucing up its toll plazas, repainting toll booths at all nine crossings a uniform and familiar color, MTA blue. The actual color is called “safety blue” but it happens to closely match the color of the MTA logo.

The last time all 150 toll booths and their surrounding concrete islands, curbs, and bullnoses were painted was 2001.

“Reverting back to the original blue we once used will help uniformly identify our plazas as being MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ facilities, and it will also help us save money in the procurement of paint,” said B&T Chief Maintenance Officer Patrick Parisi.

When the booths were last painted each crossing picked its own color. The result was toll booths at some plazas being yellow (Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and Bronx-Whitestone), turquoise (Verrazano Narrows), orange (Throgs Neck) or a unique mixture of banana yellow, blue and mint green (Henry Hudson Bridge).

More than aesthetics, repainting the booths is necessary to keep them in a state of good repair since some are exposed daily to harsh sea and salt air climate that can corrode steel. “Paint is used as the first line of defense against the forces of corrosion. Painting is also a cost effective way to extend the useful life and function of our facilities,” explains B&T Coating Engineer Peter Mc- Donagh.

It takes two or three nights to repaint each toll booth both inside and out. First, each booth is draped in containment and thoroughly power-washed inside and out. Next, they are sanded down using hand and power-grinding tools before a primer coat of anti-corrosive epoxy is applied. The final step is applying a coat of high-performance urethane paint. A total of about 1,200 gallons of paint will be used.

The $4.5 million project, awarded to L&L Painting Co., of Hicksville, N.Y., also includes work being done on 60 giant 20-by-11 foot tall vent fans at the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens Midtown Tunnel vent buildings, two garages and an auto shop.

Work has been completed at the Queens Midtown Tunnel toll plaza. Next up are the two Rockaway bridges and the Manhattan plaza at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, followed by the rest of the crossings.

The work is being done during offpeak hours between 10 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. to minimize disruption to traffic. All nine crossings are expected to have a fresh coat of paint by the end of the year.

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