Emergency bridge project at Ridgewood/Middle Village border delayed yet again

Photo: Anthony Giudice/QNS

What’s the hold up?

After the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced an emergency project to replace the severely deteriorated deck of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) at Fresh Pond Road on the Ridgewood/Middle Village border, it has been beset by delay after delay.

The project was originally supposed to begin following the Fourth of July holiday, but was held off until August. The dog days of summer came and went, and no work was done on the bridge deck.

DOT Deputy Borough Commissioner Jason Banrey told the members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit services committees during their monthly meeting at the CB 5 office on Sept. 27 that the delay resulted from the project contractor not being able to secure the appropriate permits for the work.

It has now been revealed that the project will finally get underway in early October, barring any additional unforeseen setbacks.

“We know how important this is for the community, especially with its relation to some of the MTA issues that we’re going to be facing down the road with the M line and the L line further south,” Banrey said. “We’re still confident that we’re going to meet the objective of that section, or that portion of the bridge replacement before June.”

Once the barriers are put in place, 60th Lane is converted to a southbound-only roadway, and once construction begins, DOT will place traffic enforcement agents at the scene seven days a week to help guide drivers and pedestrians around the area. DOT will be surveying area and the impact on traffic that construction will have to help keep traffic flowing as best as possible.

“Once we do implement the project we’re going to be studying certain areas around in an effort to alleviate some of the congestion that we feel may happen,” Banrey said. “We won’t know what the impacts of the construction will be until we are in implementation.”

DOT hopes to get the first portion of the deck off the bridge within the first month of construction. After that, further inspection of the underlying structure will be needed to determine the next steps, before replacing that section of the deck by June 2017.