The state originally expected to complete plans to upgrade the bridge, built in 1939, by the end of last year. and the project was supposed to be underway by 2011.Six plans for the bridge, which connects Maspeth to Brooklyn, included two options to rehabilitate the existing structure and construct a parallel bridge on its eastbound or westbound side, three options to replace the existing structure by building parallel bridges on both sides and a no-build alternative with continuing maintenance. The state DOT has pushed options that would replace the existing bridge.But the state Historic Preservation Office would not approve final designs for the project because the agency believed the bridge's Warren truss type structure and length was historically unique, DOT spokesman Adam Levine said.A spokeswoman for the Historic Preservation Office said the agency wanted additional information about the project and would respond accordingly to any safety concerns raised by the DOT.Levine said the bridge has more flags, or structural concerns that need monitoring, than any other bridge in the state."There are a lot of safety issues with the existing bridge, which should make a better case for replacement alternatives," he said.He said there would still need to be a public comment period and a Record of Decision issued before the project can move forward.Meanwhile, Maspeth businesses and residents affected by the project said they were angry about the stall. George Kosser, vice president for access door manufacturer Karp Associates, said both the DOT and the Historic Preservation Office are state agencies and should have long known the specifics of the project."They've been in the loop for two years," said Kosser, who maintains that the halting of the upgrade has left Karp's acquisition by the state and eventual relocation in limbo. "New York State is hurting our business. I want to expand the factory, but delays prevent us from acting."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@times
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