Major Deck Reconstruction Completed As Cross Bay Bridge Marks 40th Birthday

Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge during construction, with waterproof membrane being applied

The Cross Bay Veterans Bridge turned 40-years-old on May 28th but doesn't look a day over 39 thanks to a brand new roadway deck, deck joints and improved and rehabilitated ramps and pedestrian walkway.

The three-year, $57 million makeover was completed just in time for the bridge's 40th birthday, and the start of the busy summer season in the Rockaways.

"A big 'thank you' to our customers and local residents for their patience during this important project," said Ed Wallace, General Manager for the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges.

The bridge's deck and ramps were due for an overhaul, having weathered four decades of use by some 7.5 million vehicles each year in the harsh salt-water environment. The contractor on the project, El Sol of Maspeth, Queens, began work in July 2007.

The work was done with the community in mind. There were no ramp closures during summer months, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, to accommodate beach-related traffic, during the period when the pedestrian walkway was closed, MTA Bridges and Tunnels arranged for free shuttle service.

"We are always mindful of our Broad Channel and Rockaway neighbors," said Adrian Moshe, Facility Engineer for both the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridges.

The project also included replacement of the asphalt overlay and application of a waterproof membrane, rehabilitation of the large concrete girders, and replacement of the deck joints, which allow for contraction and expansion of the bridge.

The Cross Bay Bridge is a high-level, fixed bridge with a concrete deck that allows marine traffic to cross under without the need for a lift, unlike the Marine Parkway Bridge, which must be lifted to allow marine traffic to pass through.

In 1970, the current bridge replaced the old Cross Bay Bridge, a low-level drawbridge built in 1939. The Cross Bay Bridge spans over Beach Channel and connects the Rockaways, Broad Channel and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to the rest of Queens.

About the Cross Bay Bridge:

  • Opened to traffic: May 28, 1970
  • Six lanes of traffic; three in either direction; one pedestrian walkway
  • Total length between abutments: 3,000 feet
  • Clearance above water: 55 feet
  • Annual number of vehicles in 1940: 3.4 million
  • Annual number of vehicles in 2009: 7.5 million