MTA Bridges and Tunnels is alerting motorists that the Cross Island Parkway ramp leading Bronx–bound motorists onto the Throgs Neck Bridge from Queens and Long Island will close for approximately five weeks starting Thursday, July 16, 2009. The closure is necessary to accommodate major ongoing rehabilitation work on the 48–year–old bridge's Queens approach. The other ramp—which leads off the Throgs Neck Bridge onto the Cross Island Parkway—will be closed in similar fashion some time after Labor Day. The Clearview Expressway is the chief alternate route for traffic to and from the bridge; or motorists can use the neighboring Bronx–Whitestone Bridge.
"The ramp closure is critical to fast–tracking work on the bridge," explained facility engineer Michael Prigge. "The deck is nearing the end of its useful life, and once this project is completed the new steel–reinforced concrete roadway will give drivers an improved riding surface for decades to come," added Prigge. About 112,000 vehicles cross the Throgs Neck Bridge every day.
"We are mindful of customers who use this ramp, so traffic enforcement agents will be posted as needed at key intersections during the ramp closures, and signs will be placed at numerous locations to alert and direct drivers about the closure and detour options," said bridge general manager Edward Wallace.
There will be more than 40 signs regarding the CIP ramp closure on various roads in the region, and the agency has informed AAA New York and Long Island–based business and tourism organizations. In addition, notice of the closure will be posted on the Bridges and Tunnels Special Traffic Advisories link at mta.info.
In order to further minimize impact to motorists, the work zones are arranged to allow for three lanes open in each direction during peak traffic periods.
The Throgs Neck Bridge Queens–side work has been carefully coordinated with construction on the neighboring Bronx–Whitestone Bridge, which is currently undergoing work on its Bronx approach. The Throgs Neck job will not affect access to the Little Neck Park playing fields, and construction lighting will be positioned to avoid residential disruption.
The $96.7 million contract was awarded last summer to E.E. Cruz and Company of Holmdel, New Jersey. Under the project, more than 140,000 square feet of roadway deck on 11 spans of the bridge are being replaced, in addition to a major paint job and landscaping improvements. Another beneficial result of the work will be the removal (under total environmental containment) of all lead paint on the steel superstructure in Queens. The overall project will continue over the next two years.
Local elected officials and communities have been briefed and updated by the agency regarding the project.
The Throgs Neck Bridge, which opened to motorists on January 11, 1961, had 40.5 million crossings in 2008.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels' facilities, which connect the five boroughs of New York City, are the Throgs Neck, Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough), Bronx–Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Verrazano–Narrows, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial and Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Bridges, and the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn–Battery Tunnels.
Photo caption: Throgs Neck Bridge, view toward Queens.