Waiting Longer for New Bridge

Fresh Pond/Metro Project Delayed

Plans for the reconstruction of the bridge that carries Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue over the Montauk branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) on the Middle Village/Ridgewood border have been delayed six months, the Times Newsweekly has learned.

Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano stated on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) recently informed the board that the estimated start of the project-which had been scheduled for this December- was pushed back to June 2014.

Part of the reason for the delay, Giordano noted, is the state Department of Transportation’s review of an application to waive height requirements on the railroad. Originally built in 1915, the span is located at a height below current standards for railroad clearance.

Should the state Transportation Department fail to waive that requirement, additional work would be needed to either raise the height of the bridge or lower the grade of the railroad tracks. The latter option, as previously reported, would also require the replacement of a large sewer main running through the area .

Giordano noted the city DOT has assured him that more than $25 million has already been provided and secured for the reconstruction of the Fresh Pond Road/Metropolitan Avenue bridge. Details about the design of the new span-and potential detours around the work site while construction is in progress-have yet to be received by the board, he added.

Plans for the reconstruction of the bridge have been in progress for many years. As early as December 2007, the Times Newsweekly reported that the DOT intended to begin the project in 2009, but those plans were delayed to the economic crisis the city later encountered.

A report issued by the state DOT following an inspection of the bridge in October 2009 found the span to be “structurally deficient,” receiving a low condition rating of 3.6.

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