The original Depression-era roadway deck of the Henry Hudson Bridge will be replaced beginning in early June as part of the $84.3 million rehabilitation project to replace and rehabilitate the roadway deck and north approach.
The project, expected to be completed by spring 2010, will involve round-the-clock closure of one southbound lane at a time until the project is completed. A second lane will be closed during off peak hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well. The closures are necessary to complete the work safely.
Preparation work is already underway. Scaffolding is being erected under the bridge to protect the area from the construction going on above. Residents may also see construction workers in protective gear working below the bridge on Palisades Avenue near the North Abutment. The contract was awarded to Judlau Contract Inc., of College Point, Queens in September and work began late last year.
"It's the most ambitious, complicated and challenging construction job ever undertaken at this facility because it involves all aspects of engineering, including structural, mechanical, electrical and fire safety, and we must do this while maintaining operations and minimizing the impact to our customers," said Henry Hudson Facility Engineer Walter Hickey. He said the work was necessary because, "We're replacing a deck that is 70-years-old and has reached the end of its useful life."
The bridge, connecting Riverdale in the Bronx with the Inwood Hill Park section in Manhattan, opened Dec. 12, 1936. The upper level, which was added 18 months later in 1938, had its deck replaced in 1998. Last year, 24 million vehicles crossed the Henry Hudson Bridge.
In addition to the lane closures, the lower level sidewalk on the west side of the bridge will be closed when deck replacement work begins, and will reopen when the work is done. The full -length, east maintenance sidewalk, which is usually closed to the public, will be opened from sunrise to sunset as a promenade so the community can still enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson River, the New Jersey Palisades, the Harlem River and Inwood Park. It can be accessed from the east side of the Henry Hudson Parkway at Kappock Street in Riverdale. It does not provide access to Inwood Park in Manhattan.
In keeping with MTA Bridges and Tunnels' commitment to residents who live near the facility, there will be no nighttime construction work after 6 p.m., no rivet removal before 8 a.m., and weekend construction will include only non-noise producing work, such as pulling electrical cable and wiring. "The object is to keep the bridge in a state of good repair but also to be as considerate as possible to our neighbors," Hickey said.
The replacement work will be done in four stages as each lane is replaced. During the first stage, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2007, the decking on the right hand lane will be cut into sections, lifted and loaded onto trucks. After steelwork is completed, a steel grid deck will be put down, filled with concrete and topped with an additional layer of concrete. This process will be repeated in each stage. The new deck will be lighter and thinner than the old deck and have a life expectancy of around 70 years.
The north approach structure, the elevated portion of the roadway at the entrance to the bridge, will also be entirely replaced with new steel bracing, walls and a new concrete abutment, which supports the end of the span where it meets the roadway. A new lighting system and standpipe system will also be installed.