Manhattan Bridge Makeover and Rehab Slated to Begin Next Summer

Posted on: September 14th, 2017 at 5:08 am by

Starting next summer, the city will undergo the next step in the neverending rehabilitation of the Manhattan Bridge. It’s a multi-year effort (i.e. “component rehab”) aimed at updating both structural and ornamental elements that are in a purported dire need of repair.

Brian Gill, Chief Engineer of Manhattan Bridge Reconstruction for the Transportation Department, and Sam Summerville from the Thornton Tomasetti firm together delivered an update to the Community Board 3 Transportation committee on Tuesday.

Basically, this latest round of action – known solely by its sequential “Contract 15” designation – is part of ongoing rehabilitation efforts that began way back in 1982. The city identified certain “red flag issues” to ameliorate. The plan is to replace corroded steel, replace the rosettes ringing the four decorative globes (some of which are falling into the East River), install new cornices, swap out the deteriorated brackets (there are 10 on each tower), rehab trench drains on the roadway, and repair the south walkway fence that is 110-years-old. There is no significant paint work involved this time around. The team assured everyone that there will be little visual difference once the project completes, but how “that’s a good thing.”

However, the committee raised concerns regarding noise mitigation, a subject many on the Two Bridges waterfront contend with daily (i.e. Extell). Unfortunately for those residents, most of the work will be conducted overnight during less crowded crossing times. But board members also used this public discourse as an opportunity to address the clamor created when subway trains pass overhead. To see if there’s a possibility of reducing the noise. Any attempt to change that is, frankly, futile. It would require multi-agency review before any possible implementation, plus review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as any sound baffling would likely alter the appearance of the bridge. Also, MTA is in charge of the tracks.

Nevertheless, the project is already approved, and will go out for bidding in December. The procurement phase will take about six months with the job beginning sometime next summer. Actual contract work will last roughly two-and-a-half years, but likely double that given precedent.

The Manhattan Bridge is the youngest of the three East River suspension bridges. Designed by Leon Moisseiff and completed in 1909, the span carries nearly 400,000 daily commuters – 80,363 vehicles and 316,500 mass transit riders – between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge supports seven lanes of vehicular traffic as well as the tracks utilized by four different subway lines. It measures 6,000 feet across, from abutment to abutment.

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