Cb 5 Finds Gap In Underpass Work

Cooper Avenue Project Omits Railroad Bridge

The reconstruction of the Cooper Avenue underpass retaining walls on the Glendale/Middle Village border is moving along at a brisk pace, but according to Community Board 5′s chairperson, the project leaves out segments of the wall not owned by the city.

Most of the retaining walls of the Cooper Avenue underpass are being reconstructed by the city, but excluded from the project are repairs to the walls directly below the Long Island Rail Road’s bridge across the roadway, as shown above.

During last Tuesday’s (July 17) meeting of Board 5’s Transportation and Public Transit committees, Fern Weinreich of the city’s Department of Design and Construction reported that construction was nearly complete on the southern side of the underpass along the eastbound lane of Cooper Avenue between 74th and 79th streets. Crews would soon begin the reconstruction of retaining walls on the opposite side of the roadway.

The project involves the removal of deteriorated layers of concrete on both sides of the underpass and replacement with reinforced cement. Other improvements include wider sidewalks, new parapet walls and lighting.

But Vincent Arcuri, Board 5 chairperson, pointed out that city work crews did not repair the retaining walls directly under the trestles which carries the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch over Cooper Avenue.

A DDC spokesperson told the Times Newsweekly that the abutments immediately below the LIRR trestle were not included in the project since “it’s the LIRR’s property” and their responsibility.

Arcuri also inquired with the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) about the reconstruction of the walls below the railroad tracks, and was given virtually the same answer in an e-mail forwarded to the Times Newsweekly.

“The retaining wall project does not include the LIRR structure; we have no jurisdiction over LIRR property,” the DOT’s Hilary Gietz told Arcuri in the e-mail. “[The] DDC has reached out to LIRR during design to include this work, but they advised that they do not have available funding.”

“You’re going to see a brand new wall and a messed up abutment” once the Cooper Avenue project is finished, Arcuri observed at last Tuesday’s Board 5 committees meeting. “The city should have coordinated with the railroad, but no one ever thought to do that.”

Aside from the railroad abutments, the Cooper Avenue underpass project is on track to be completed by next summer, a DDC spokesperson added.

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