New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the opening of the new westbound Fresh Creek Basin Bridge—a key component of the Belt Parkway that serves up to 150,000 cars a day through Brooklyn and Queens to Nassau County and John F. Kennedy International Airport to the east and to the Gowanus Expressway and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the west. The new span is approximately 126 feet wide and 407 feet long, and its opening reflects a new milestone in the ongoing project to reconstruct seven key parkway bridges: Bay Ridge Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Gerritsen Inlet, Mill Basin, Paerdegat Basin and Rockaway Parkway. The $111.7 million replacement of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge began in 2009. The first phase of the replacement occurred in March 2012, when the eastbound Fresh Creek Basin Bridge opened to traffic.
“Each day our Belt Parkway bridges come alive, carrying 150,000 cars and connecting commuters and commerce across the city and the region,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “The work on the Fresh Creek and six other Belt Parkway bridges are just one piece of our $5 billion investment strategy to restore all of the city’s 787 bridges to a state of good repair or set rehabilitation plans in motion.”
As with the other six Belt Parkway bridges, the total replacement of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge and its approach roadways will provide the necessary upgrades to bring the structure into compliance with current State and Federal standards. This includes wider travel lanes, safety shoulders, median barriers, improved elevation of the roadway around curves and realignment for improving sight distances and drainage enhancements. This project replaces the original Fresh Creek Basin Bridge, which, along with the other Belt Parkway bridges, was constructed more than 70 years ago and has reached the end of its useful life. The opening of the new westbound bridge towards the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Staten Island last night shifted three traffic lanes onto the permanent crossing. The new structure consists of three spans and two support piers, resulting in a wider marine channel. The newly opened bridge deck and the approaches have been widened to three 12-foot lanes and 12-foot-wide shoulders.
The next phase of construction for the Fresh Creek segment is expected to continue through fall 2013. Work includes the final installation of permanent concrete barriers on the bridge and approaches, the installation of approach pavement sections, drainage and electrical facilities and improvements to the pedestrian and bike path, which have remained open through all phases of the project. The removal of a temporary bridge installed at this site in early 2011 will follow later this spring. DOT opened the temporary structure to maintain continuous three-lane traffic flow with minimal closures during off-peak hours to ease construction impacts on motorists using this vital throughway.