Permanent Lane Closure Lifted At Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

As the fall and winter holiday season gets underway there is good news for motorists who use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

Work requiring a round-the-clock lane closure of one of the bridge's six lanes has been completed and three lanes in each direction will once again be available during peak drive times.

The permanent lane closure, in effect since June 2010, will be lifted over the weekend and three lanes will be available in each direction starting with the Monday morning commute on Oct. 24th.  Three lanes will be maintained using newly constructed safety shoulders.

Please note: The transition required to re-open the bridge roadway to full capacity will necessitate one final period of closures in both directions, as follows:

    Fri. (10/21), 6 PM-9 PM: southbound & northbound: one lane closed; two lanes open;
    Fri. (10/21), 9 PM-6 AM (Sat 10/22): southbound & northbound: two lanes closed; one lane open;
    Sat. (10/22)-Mon. (10/24), 6 AM-3 AM: northbound: one lane closed; two lanes open; southbound: three lanes open.

While lane by lane demolition and rehabilitation work was done, a reversible, movable barrier was used to maintain three traffic lanes to the Bronx during peak morning hours and three lanes to Queens in the evening and on weekends.

The nearly $200 million project, awarded to Conti Inc., began in December 2008. The work has included construction of new foundations and 15 new double-arch concrete piers beneath the bridge to support the rehabilitated, wider 12-foot lanes and the new safety shoulders.

Work on the center lane of the bridge will continue through early 2012, and the entire project is expected to be finished later that year once the old piers are removed and landscaping and drainage upgrades are completed.

A similar $109 million project to rehabilitate and widen the Bronx-Whitestone Queens approach was recently awarded jointly to E.E. Cruz, of Manhattan, and Tully Construction Co., of Queens. The work includes reconstruction and widening of the 1,010-foot-long Queens approach roadway structure, adding emergency breakdown lanes, and moving and rebuilding a local playground beneath the bridge.

Similar to the Bronx approach work, the project will require a permanent lane closure, which is expected to begin in mid-2012. The reversible, movable barrier will be used again to maintain three lanes of traffic in peak directions. The northbound Third Avenue exit ramp will also be closed for approximately two years while the roadway is rebuilt.

In 2010, some 41 million vehicles used the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects the Bronx to Queens and Long Island. The bridge opened to traffic the day before the New York World's Fair in Flushing, Queens on April 30, 1939.

Bronx Approach from top of Bronx Toweer looking north

Bronx Approach showing newly constructed breakdown shoulders, viewed from top of the Bronx Tower looking north. (Photo credit: Jeff Brugge for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.)