New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner (DOT) Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the completion of the first phase of a $365 million contract started in 2009 to reconstruct three significantly deteriorated bridges on the Belt Parkway, which carry 150,000 cars a day through Brooklyn and Queens to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Nassau County to the east and to the Gowanus Expressway and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the west. Once notorious for their rough condition, the bridges at Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin are the first of seven structures undergoing complete reconstruction. Eastbound traffic this week shifted onto the first of two new parallel structures passing over the Paerdegat Basin. Westbound traffic is scheduled to shift onto the formerly eastbound span on December 28 to permit construction to begin on the parallel structure which is expected to be completed in 2013. In another contract milestone, westbound traffic was shifted onto the new bridge over Rockaway Parkway on December 5.
“New York continues to grow and we need to make sure our streets, highways and bridges keep up to keep the city moving,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Thanks to the Mayor’s commitment to investing in our infrastructure, our bridges are in the best condition they’ve been in a generation, and these Belt Parkway bridges will continue to serve the needs of New Yorkers for years to come.”
“The New York City Department of Transportation has done a terrific job tackling the Reconstruction of Seven Bridges on the Belt Parkway,” said Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09). “These projects are necessary for the safety of drivers in our community. The NYC DOT’s implementation of a phase system, traffic mitigation solutions, and environmental monitoring, has made it possible to enhance the safety and beauty of one of our most important highways while minimizing the impact on the surrounding Wetlands and national park, as well as the every-day commuting needs of Queens residents.”
The $365 million federal- and City-funded contract is part of the $5 billion the Bloomberg administration has spent on bridge rehabilitation and is one of more than 775 infrastructure projects the DOT has started in the last four years to bring the city’s infrastructure into a state of good repair. Earlier this month, an $11.7 million access ramp over the Belt Parkway at East 8th Street/Guider Avenue opened, improving access to the Belt for vehicles. Additional investment in the Belt Parkway Bridges this year included a $2.9 million component rehabilitation of the bridge over Ocean Avenue and $5 million for protective coating of five spans between Bay 8th Street and E.14th Street. Work on the Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin bridges is scheduled for completion in 2014. The next contract in the Belt Parkway project will include reconstruction of the bridge at Gerritsen Inlet starting in 2012, followed by the Mill Basin Drawbridge in 2013.
The first phase required the manpower and expertise of construction workers, engineers, inspectors and administrative personnel. Among the employment highlights of the project:
- Since the project began in October 2009, an average of 296 construction workers has been employed each month, reaching a high of 427 construction workers during September of 2011.
- From October 2009 through November 2011, there have been approximately 510,300 man-hours of labor spent working on the replacement of the Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin bridges.
The seven bridges are all original structures built starting in 1939. The annual bridge condition report released earlier this year found that all of the City’s 787 bridges are in a state of good repair or have rehabilitation projects underway or planned.