The four-year, nearly $200 million project to replace the Bronx approach roadway and its supporting structural foundations at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge is set to move into the next phase on Saturday, June 19.
Work will include an approximately year-long closure of one of the six bridge lanes, but by using a movable barrier three lanes will be maintained during rush hour in peak driving directions.
“We are talking about the original roadway on a 71-year-old bridge so there is no doubt that the work has to be done,” said facility engineer Vincent Montanti. “But by using a movable barrier we hope to minimize the disruption to drivers while we make the bridge stronger and more viable for many decades to come.”
The second phase, expected to last about two-and-a-half years, includes lane-by-lane demolition of 1,785-feet of original roadway near the Bronx end of the bridge, as well as construction of a new roadway superstructure.
To do a portion of the work closest to the anchorage, one lane must be closed but three lanes will be maintained northbound from Queens heading into the Bronx during morning rush hours and three lanes will be maintained southbound, from the Bronx into Queens during the evening rush hours by using a movable barrier. Two lanes will be available in the opposite direction during these times.
The first phase included the construction of new foundations and 15 new double-arch concrete piers that will support wider 12-foot lanes and shoulders on the bridge— a major improvement on the existing circa 1930s narrow-width roadway lanes. Nearly all of the work was done beneath the bridge and did not impact daily traffic.
The final stage of the project, to be done in 2012, will involve removing the old piers beneath the Bronx anchorage, landscaping and drainage upgrades.
In 2009, 117,000 vehicles daily used the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects the Bronx to Queens and Long Island. The 2,300-foot long, 74-foot wide suspension span was the fourth longest in the world when it opened a day before the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939.