RFK Bridge Manhattan/Queens Ramp Project Underway
A $50 million design/build project to reconstruct the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge’s Manhattan/Queens ramp is underway with a new traffic pattern that shifts motorists to the left and then merges ramp traffic with traffic just south of the Bronx toll plaza.
Two lanes of traffic will be maintained during peak driving hours. Engineers were able to do this by constructing a temporary, two-lane wide bridge between the ramp and the main roadway, using open unused space.
As a result, drivers will now merge from the ramp onto the main roadway leading to the RFK Bridge’s Queens suspended span, allowing the rest of the ramp to be shut down for construction. The new traffic pattern went into effect the first week of April.
“This ramp was constructed in 1967 and as anyone who has driven over its multiple deck patches knows, the roadway deck has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced,” said Bridges and Tunnels Senior Project Manager Adam Rose. “Once completed, the new Manhattan/Queens ramp will last for many decades to come.”
The 26-month project to reconstruct the 54,000-square-foot ramp includes removing the old concrete deck, replacing the steel support stringers, and constructing a new concrete deck. Work is expected to be completed by fall 2014.
It is the second design/build contract used by MTA Bridges and Tunnels on a roadway structure. The first was the $9 million successful reconstruction of the southbound RFK Harlem River Drive ramp in 2011. Using the design/build format accelerates the overall process so that as portions of the design are completed, construction on those portions begins and will save an estimated year in the overall schedule for reconstructing the ramp.
The contract was awarded in June 2012 to Halmar International, of Pearl River, N.Y., and its design partner, Hardesty & Hanover. The team has been working beneath the roadway since July.
This work is part of the nearly $1 billion in capital improvements planned through 2016 for the sprawling Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which connects Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens and carries an average 170,000 vehicles daily.