MTA Bridges and Tunnels today announced a series of planned improvements for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll plaza, including a design for removal of the long-unused eastbound toll booths and re-alignment of the eastbound roadway. Demolition is expected in 2011. The eastbound booths have not been used since 1986 when one-way toll collection began.
"Removing these unused eastbound booths and re-engineering the roadway for normal speed is a major feature of a modernization package that will ultimately produce a more efficient and safer travel corridor," said MTA Executive Director Chief Executive Officer Lee Sander. " These improvements are designed to address toll plaza area changes that include the introduction of E-ZPass in 1995 and the 20% increase in traffic in the past 20 years, as well as highway design standards."
MTA Bridges and Tunnels Acting President David Moretti and Authority engineers briefed Staten Island and Brooklyn elected officials on the plans at the bridge this morning.
The improvement plans--developed in coordination with the State Department of Transportation, which has adjacent jurisdiction on the Staten Island expressway-feature re-design of eight exit and entrance ramps in both directions to be done by MTA through a design contract with State DOT for $2.5 million. In addition, MTA plans to contribute $3 million for a portion of the design and construction of the State's project to rehabilitate the Fingerboard Road bridge because of the benefits it provides to bridge traffic. The agreement between MTA and the State goes to the MTA Board this month.
The roadway improvements, eastbound tollbooth removal, all ramps and the Fingerboard Road project will be completed between 2010 and 2013. A new westbound toll plaza would be designed in the next capital program.
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge carried 70 million vehicles in 2006.