Pre-fab Maspeth LIE bridge stuck in Albany

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A potential solution to some of Maspeth residents’ traffic complaints is stuck at a warehouse north of Albany, and the state Department of Transportation is struggling to find a way to haul it down to Queens.

A bridge slated for installation on the lower roadway of the Long Island Expressway was prefabricated in Albany to expedite the project, but the MTA’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority has refused to allow the pieces to cross over the Throgs Neck Bridge.

“It’s too heavy,” said Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Tom Kelly.

The bridge, made of steel with a concrete deck, would replace a 200-foot-long span of the Long Island Expressway which crosses over 58th Street in Maspeth.

Last year the state DOT closed the service road that runs westbound alongside the LIE connecting Maurice Avenue with 58th Street in anticipation of the bridge installation.

But Community Board 5 member Tony Nunziato is outraged that the extended closure of a “major road for cars and trucks” has been dragged on indefinitely by the delay in bridge installation.

Nunziato has spent months waging a campaign to reduce truck traffic through the business and residential districts of Maspeth, a problem he said has been exacerbated by the closure of the service road — which has sent even more trucks through the heart of town.

The bridge pieces were supposed to cross the Throgs Neck on May 16, but the trucking company’s May 15 request for permits to travel the span was rejected due to weight constraints.

The beleaguered prefabricated bridge in Albany sits in 16 parts, 15 of them between 165,000 and 211,000 pounds and the last piece weighing in at 235,000 pounds.

The weight limit for the Throgs Neck is posted at 80,000 pounds, although permits are often issued to allow larger weights to cross the span.

State DOT spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said the pieces are still expected to travel across the Throgs Neck, although permission will only be granted once a structural analysis shows the bridge can handle the load.

But the MTA spokesman said the pieces will have to be sent by way of the Hudson River, an option Nelson said was also being considered by the DOT.

“It’ll have to be shipped,” Kelly said. “It would probably have to be barged down.”

The installation of the bridge will take place over the course of six weekends, during which time one lane of traffic will travel in each direction along the lower level of the LIE.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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