Westbury, NY - April 28, 2014 - A $39.2 million plan to construct a new bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks at Ellison Avenue in Westbury, L.I. was submitted for approval to the MTA Board today, a project that would replace a deteriorating span for that has been used cars, trucks and pedestrians for 73 years.
LIRR engineers have closely monitored the condition of the current Ellison Avenue Bridge, located between Carle Place and Westbury Stations, to ensure it is safe. The LIRR began planning for a new bridge after experts determined that the structure was at the end of its useful life. Currently, 90 percent of the deck of the Ellison Avenue Bridge is covered with steel plates and New York State Department of Transportation has found serious deterioration in the structure.
The proposal was sent to the Long Island Committee of the MTA Board on Monday and is set to go to the MTA Board for a vote scheduled for Wednesday. Approval would clear the way for the Railroad to issue a Request for Proposal for a contractor who would have to demolish the old bridge, then design and build a new span to the LIRR’s specifications by 2016. The project would be covered by a Project Labor Agreement with local trade unions that is designed to lower construction costs while helping to promote the use of local unionized labor forces.
“We have worked closely with local officials and Westbury community leaders who have long advocated for this project,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “There is no question that the structure is need of replacement and that this project will create jobs while improving the ride for those who use the Ellison Avenue Bridge.”
Westbury Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro said: “The Village of Westbury strongly supports the LIRR’s proposal to replacement the Ellison Avenue Bridge in Westbury. The bridge is an important piece of the LIRR’s Main Line infrastructure that is badly in need of replacement. We are pleased that the LIRR is addressing the deterioration of the bridge, which we have long sought to address. We are grateful to LIRR President
Helena Williams for her commitment to public safety in supporting our efforts to have the bridge project prioritized. We are also thankful to State Senator Jack Martins who has fought hard to make sure the bridge project remained on track. The project will once and for all assure motorist and pedestrian safety, as well as the safety of the LIRR trains and passengers traveling under the bridge daily. And, since the RFP also includes a project labor agreement, the project will create quality construction jobs are provided for our local Long Island workers, something that is sorely needed.”
State Senator Jack Martins (R-Nassau) said: “This is great news for the Westbury community. Replacing the Ellison Avenue Bridge has been talked about for decades; now we are finally making it a reality. Improving safety while simultaneously creating jobs and promoting economic development is a win-win scenario and I’m pleased we could work together with Mayor Cavallaro and the LIRR to deliver these important benefits for residents."
The new proposed span would have a clearance of 18 feet. The LIRR is seeking a waiver from the New York State Department of Transportation for the 18 feet clearance, which would avoid any impacts to adjacent properties.
The Ellison Avenue Bridge project is part of a five-year, $211.5 million infrastructure investment by the MTA into the LIRR’s busy Main Line Corridor. Some 40 percent of daily ridership passes along this critical stretch of track, a place where trains from five branches of the Railroad converge every day.