CB 5 still pushing for a Grand Ave. bridge 1

Tuesday morning rush-hour traffic heads across the Grand Avenue bridge between Maspeth and Brooklyn. Leaders of Queens Community Board 5 are continuing to prioritize its replacement in their requests for spending in the city’s capital budget.

The steel truss bridge with the metal grate deck that carries Grand Avenue across Newtown Creek to connect Maspeth with Brooklyn was built closer in time to the George Washington administration than that of President Biden.

No wonder the folks at Community Board 5 remain eager to have it replaced.

“It’s still one of our top budget priorities; certainly in our top five,” said Gary Giordano, district manager at CB 5. “It’s us on one side and Brooklyn [Community] Board 1 on the other.”

Giordano said the structure has long been outdated, and now represents a traffic and safety hazard.

“The bridge was built in 1903,” he said. “The bridge is too narrow for two large vehicles to pass each other at the same time. You couldn’t have two trucks passing each other in the opposite direction.”

The bridge also has pedestrian walkways on both sides.

Large vehicles are increasingly an issue as the bridge is in a massive industrial area and services the countless trucks heading to, from and between businesses operating there.

Just as a benchmark, Henry Ford’s first Model A vehicles — somewhat smaller than modern commercial trucks or a school bus — also made their debut in 1903.

The city’s Department of Transportation did not respond to requests for comment prior to the Chronicle’s deadline, but Giordano said the eventual replacement of the span is on the Division of Bridges’ radar screen.

“First of all, it’s going to be a very expensive project,” he said. “They’re not even in preliminary design yet. Right now they’re scoping out the area. They’ve got their consultants working on this. We have had a presentation on this [from the DOT] at a remote meeting of our Transportation Committee.”

Giordano said that the design process can take the better part of two years.

“As for a timeline, you could have the start of construction in 2025 if all goes well,” he said.

On a positive point, the district manager did say that conditions at the bridge give lie to some stereotypes about New York City drivers.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “There are situations in this world where, when a civility level is required, it’s amazing how civil drivers behave. There are times when you and I are both driving in opposite directions and both driving some big vehicle, a bus or truck ... and one of us has to stop, like at a four-way stop sign, and let the other person go ahead.”

One of the requirements would be an environmental review, seemingly a paradox as Newtown Creek below was designated a federal Superfund cleanup site in 2010, and one of the most heavily trafficked and polluted waterways in the city.

It had been used for industrial waste and the disposal of city sewage dating back to the 1860s when the land around it began getting converted to the industrial area it is today. The 3.5-mile creek also has been the site of at least two major oil spills in the last 70 years