MTA Board Approves Project to Rebuild LIRR Bridge at Post Avenue in Westbury

Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury
Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board has approved a contract for the design and construction of a new bridge carrying the Long Island Rail Road tracks over Post Avenue at the Westbury LIRR station.

The new bridge will replace a deteriorated span that has been in service for 102 years. The new span would be safer for vehicular traffic, meeting the latest standards and requirements of the New York State Department of Transportation. The rebuilt bridge will increase the clearance to 14 feet above the roadway, a full two feet and two inches higher than the current clearance of 11 feet, 10 inches.

The increase in clearance is expected to improve train service by reducing the number of instances in which over-height trucks strike the bridge, which can result in train delays for thousands of LIRR customers. The bridge has been struck by trucks between five and nine times per year in each of the past six years.

The contract was packaged as a “design-build” contract, a type of contract that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has asked the MTA to use whenever possible to reduce the length of time it takes to complete construction projects. Under this type of contract, the same firm that designs a project also builds it to the specifications it has designed.

LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski said: “With the award of this contract, we’re working to improve Main Line train service with a modern bridge with a higher clearance that will reduce bridge strikes, and the train delays that can result. And by using the design-build contracting method, we’re doing this in the most efficient, and fastest way possible.”

The contract for the Post Avenue bridge reconstruction was awarded to Halmar International Inc., an engineering and construction concern based in Nanuet, N.Y. There were four other major competitors answering a Request for Proposals, which was issued by the railroad in August. After careful analysis of all the proposals, an LIRR deemed Halmar’s offer the best from both a technical perspective and price. Halmar’s proposal of $9.7 million was $1.6 million below the LIRR’s cost estimate for the project.

LIRR officials said the reconstruction work would require one weekend train service outage on the Main Line, projected for October 2017.

The railroad has carefully managed similar weekend service suspension, most recently for the demolition and reconstruction of the Ellison Avenue Bridge along the same route in Westbury and the replacement of the Colonial Road Bridge on the Port Washington Branch near Great Neck station.

Under terms of the contract, the LIRR and Halmar have set a goal of having 17 percent of the subcontracting work performed by minority-owned, woman-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises, an initiative that Governor Cuomo has made a priority for state agencies as well as the operating agencies of the MTA.

In addition to improving conditions for LIRR customers, motorists and truckers, the new bridge will also be able to accommodate a third Main Line track, in line with other infrastructure improvements in the corridor over the years and also in line with Governor Cuomo's proposed LIRR Expansion project.