Not long after the July 4 fireworks fizzle out, the hard work will begin.
The emergency Department of Transportation (DOT) project to replace the heavily deteriorated deck of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) on the Ridgewood/Middle Village border is scheduled to blast off that week.
Representatives from the DOT Division of Bridges gave the community a full rundown of what can be expected during the project including scheduled work, time frames, street closures and detours, during the Community Board 5 (CB 5) monthly meeting on Wednesday night at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.
The project is scheduled to take 21 months — from July 2016 to January 2018 — and involves four stages, two of which involve only night work.
“There is going to be some pain and anguish, we know that,” said James Tarpey, resident engineer of the project with DOT Division of Bridges. “This is a very, very busy intersection and there will be some truck traffic and bus traffic that won’t be allowed to make certain turns during some of the stages and we’ll go over that. But we want to get in and out as quickly as possible.”
The construction scope of the project includes the removal of the existing bridge deck to have the engineers and designers take a look at the condition of the underlying steel structure and the subsequent recommendations on what needs to be done regarding the structure. The approach slab will also need to be removed and replaced, as well as the curbs and sidewalks.
The first construction stage involves demolishing the road at Fresh Pond Road that wraps around to Metropolitan Avenue. This is expected to take around six months.
Phase 2a will be on a stretch of Metropolitan Avenue, east of Fresh Pond Road. Phase 2b will work on a section of Fresh Pond Road, north of Metropolitan Avenue, with each part taking about three months.
Phase 3 will complete both sides of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue and will last for approximately six months.
As far as traffic during the construction is concerned, DOT confirmed that one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open at all times on Metropolitan Avenue. Two bus stops will have to be relocated for the duration of the repairs and the one block section of 60th Lane — between Metropolitan and Eliot avenues — will be converted to southbound only.
“As in any detour pattern on any construction job, if what we’re doing out there doesn’t make sense, doesn’t work, we’ll change it,” Tarpey said. “We’ll constantly be looking at it and see the best way to get trucks and buses through these intersections.”
During the entire construction period, there will be six Traffic Enforcement Agents assigned to the intersections 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help cars, buses and trucks navigate the intersection.