BY JON CRONIN
The Metropolitan Avenue Bridge over the LIRR Long Island City line will begin its 21-month re-construction this summer.
James Torpey, the engineer in charge of the four stage project, assured that at no time will there be any closure of the bridge. “There will always be one lane of traffic open, one lane going in each direction.” He said at last week’s Community Board 5 meeting. He acknowledged that there will be some pain and anguish over the situation. “There will be some bus traffic and some traffic that won’t be allowed to make certain turns during some of the stages.”
Torpey noted that this is an incredibly busy intersection and that the concrete barrier for the project would be on site after the Fourth of July and be completed in January 2018.
“Basically it’s a remove and replace job,” said Torpey. They will remove the existing deck and have engineers examine the steel structure and make recommendations on the reconstruction. He believes they will be replacing steel beams and rusted rivets, but they will only find out after deck is removed. Torpey said the curbs and sidewalks will be replaced.
Torpey said there would be six traffic agents on site 24/7 to aid in the flow of traffic.
He noted that there will be a field meeting to determine if the two bus stops on Metropolitan Avenue will be relocated to 69th Street. The DOT will also be changing the direction of 60th lane. It will become southbound only for duration of the project.
Torpey added that the old Mobil station on the corner of the two avenues will be demolished within the first six months of the project. “The first part will probably be the most difficult,” he said adding that there is a learning curve until the contractor gets his feet wet.
He said there is already a community liaison on the project. “It’s very unusual that we have community liason on board,” he said, adding that’s she will filter all the questions through the field office.
A man that works at Metro Alignment near that corner, asked, “This project is gonna put a hardship on a lot of the businesses. Why can’t it be done exclusively at night?”
Torpey said that night work is usually slower and added that there would be some noise created.
Joannene Kidder, executive director of community affairs for the DOT, said it would take almost four years to complete the project.
Vinnie Arcuri, chairman of CB 5, asked Kidder if she would facilitate a meeting with local businesses to field questions like that.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin