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$57M bridge construction ‘right on schedule’

Construction on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge is progressing “right on schedule,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Spokesperson Joyce Mulvaney. One southbound lane has been closed due to construction, and more closures will begin Tuesday, October 9 as the $57 million project enters a new stage.
One northbound lane will close, as well as the northbound onramp toward Broad Channel at the intersection of Rockaway Freeway and Beach 94th Street. The southbound onramp toward Riis Park-Beach Channel Drive West will also close. During off-peak driving hours, additional closures may take place, though details have not yet been determined.
Travelers who use the northbound ramp will be guided via detour signs to the ramp located at the intersection of Beach Channel Drive and Beach 95th Street via Rockaway Freeway, Beach 98th Street, and Beach Channel Drive. Those used to taking the southbound ramp will be redirected back to Beach Channel Drive West via Shore Front Parkway and Beach 108th Street.
The three-year construction project, announced in July, 2007, focuses on repairing the bridge’s deck and ramps, repaving the asphalt roadway, and installing new concrete barriers and railings along the sidewalk. Slated to begin sometime during the summer, commencement of the work was pushed back to after Labor Day.
“Avoiding work during the summer was part of our concern,” said Jonathan Gaska, District Manager of Community Board (CB) 14, which offered consultation and assisted in planning the project. “Our population is 110 thousand, but that number doubles or triples during beach season. If this wasn’t done right, there could have been monumental gridlock all the way up through Howard Beach.”
CB 14 also pushed to minimize traffic jams, noting that Cross Bay Bridge is one of only three roadways in and out of Rockaway. During rush hour, as well as during hurricanes or other emergency circumstances, the Board wanted to make sure Rockaway residents had a way out of town.
Traffic tie-ups, however, should not affect traffic much, if at all, according to Mulvaney.
“There’s always a period of adjustment, but we really don’t anticipate that it’s going to have a major impact…[but] if we find that adjustment is needed, we’ll sit down and take a look at it.”

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