Improvements Coming to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

<p align="left">MTA Bridges and Tunnels awarded nearly $109 million to two firms for a 3-and-a-half year Capital Improvement Project on the Queens approach at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.</p>
<p>The work includes reconstruction and widening the 1,010-foot-long Queens approach roadway structure, adding emergency breakdown lanes, and moving and rebuilding a local playground beneath the bridge.</p>
<p>The original estimate for the project was $179 million but because of a favorable bid climate, the final amount was reduced by more than 35 percent to nearly $109 million. The work is similar to an ongoing project on the Bronx end of the bridge, which is expected to be completed next year. </p>
<p>The contract for the Bronx-Whitestone Queens approach work was awarded to E.E. Cruz of Manhattan and Tully Construction Co., of Queens, in a joint venture project. </p>
<p>Similar to the current Bronx approach work, the project will require a permanent lane closure for approximately a year beginning in summer 2012, but three lanes of traffic will be maintained into the Bronx during the morning and three lanes into Queens in the evening using a movable barrier. In addition, the northbound Third Avenue exit ramp will be closed for approximately two years while the roadway is rebuilt.</p>
<p>"The original 1930's bridge, with its narrow lanes and lack of emergency lanes, was not designed for today's traffic but this work, along with the Bronx approach project, will go a long way in transforming this bridge into a modern, viable regional link for decades to come," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief Engineer Joe Keane.  </p>
<p>The first work that will occur is relocating the Francis Lewis Park playground beneath the bridge to a grassy area just past the current bocce courts. The playground will remain open this summer and close in the fall. It will reopen in its new location in spring 2012. </p>
<p>In the fall, contractors will begin to build seven, new double-arch, concrete piers to support the roadway's wider, 12-foot lanes and emergency breakdown shoulders. This work will take place beneath the bridge and have no impact to daily traffic.  The permanent lane closure is slated to begin in summer 2012.</p>
<p>"There will be a lot of activity going on at the bridge for the next several years," said Facility Engineer Christopher Saladino. "We appreciate our customers' patience while we do this important work, which in the long-run will improve traffic flow and provide a smoother driving experience for all who use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge."</p>

<div class="frame" style="width:390px;margin-top:5px;margin-left:8px;padding-bottom:2px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/BW_Bronx_2.jpg" title="Improvements Coming to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge" alt="Improvements Coming to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge" /><br />
<center><div align="center">Work already completed on Bronx approach side of bridge shows the new, wider piers. Once completed new roadway decking will allow for wider lanes and, for the first time, emergency breakdown shoulders. The same work will be done on the Queens approach as part of the Capital project just awarded.</div></center></div>