By Madina Toure
Construction work seeking to restore and rehabilitate the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge over the Flushing River and the Van Wyck Expressway will begin in January.
The project will replace the entire bridge deck as well as restoring the abutments, or substructures that hold the deck, and the stringers that support the bridge. The project will also entail painting the bridge and rehabilitating the sidewalks, which will be widened from 7.9 feet to 10 feet.
Speaking at Community Board 7’s district service cabinet meeting at the Queens Botanical Garden last Friday, Huascar Robles, the city Department of Transportation’s community liaison for the project, said it will last 3 1/2 years and is expected to be completed by May 2019.
“We’re going to bring the structure to a state of good repair, extend the useful life for about 50 years,” Robles said.
The most recent rehabilitation effort occurred in 1982 and entailed full deck replacement and comprehensive steel repairs.
The Roosevelt Avenue Bridge has been in service for more than 80 years since its construction was finished in 1927. It is a 1,391-foot long, two-level, dual-use viaduct structure.
On the lower level, the bridge carries two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction with an annual average traffic of 20,000 vehicles per day over the Flushing River. The upper level of the bridge supports the overhead NYC Transit’s elevated structure, which carries the Flushing No. 7 line.
Joannene Kidder, chief staff manager and executive director of community affairs for the DOT’s Division of Bridges, said the agency is already building a notification network that includes civic groups, community organizations and big footprint businesses.
“We’re reaching out as far as telling TBTA at the Whitestone Bridge,” Kidder said, referring to the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. “We’re trying to reach and cast as wide a net as we can because we know this is a regional facility, not just a community facility, so we’re reaching (out) to businesses in Long Island City and College Point.”
She also said the agency is reaching out to the trucking industry so it can explore alternative routes.
During the first stage, the Manhattan-bound side and the sidewalk will be closed off and traffic will be shifted to the other side, with one lane in each direction.
The second stage will involve work on the center road and traffic will be on both sides. The Flushing-bound side will be closed off during the last stage and there will be one lane in each direction on the other side.
There will be traffic enforcement agents at 126th Street at the Sky View Parc garage entrance to facilitate entrance to the mall and the other intersections will rotate. Traffic agents will be there seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in two shifts per day.
Marilyn Bitterman, CB7’s district manager, said the Northern Boulevard bridge could be affected by the project.
“It’s bad now but it’s going to get worse,” Bitterman said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour