Daily News from New York, New York on February 4, 1999 · 605
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Daily News from New York, New York · 605

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Thursday, February 4, 1999
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JoGd csft alto pSssss ffa orati Easfi Kouqit By JAMES RUTENBERG Daily News Staff Writer The main roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge is crumbling and falling into the East River, forcing the city to order major emergency repairs to the venerable span, sources told the Daily News. In some spots, bridge in- specters found pieces of con-I Crete chipping away from the ' steel girding weakening the bridge deck, sources said. The $33.5 million, six-month project, which will begin in April, likely will mean traffic nightmares for thousands of bridge motorists even though the work is to take place from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. During those hours, motorists heading into Manhattan will not be able to use the bridge, as workers replace the road deck of the 115-year-old landmark. City Transportation Commissioner Wilbur Chapman confirmed the bridge's struc tural problems but said the weakened road deck poses no danger to the 130,000 motorists who use it daily. He said officials decided to declare an emergency to have the work done as soon as possible. "Because of the age and because of the volume of traffic on the bridge, we decided to implement an emergency contract," Chapman said. Sources familiar with the emergency work said the trouble was discovered in June, when inspectors checked the bridge's road deck as old asphalt was removed for a re-paving project The deck is made of steel meshing, which is filled with concrete to make it stronger. Part of the concrete was disintegrating, sources said. Engineers decided to quickly finish the repaving last summer skipping a planned wa-terproofing job of the weakened deck and instead planned the redecking work for this year. That quickie repaving job explains why, less than a year since the new pavement went down, potholes are developing in the asphalt. Chapman blamed the trouble on regular wear and tear meted out by New York traffic. "Under ideal conditions, the deck would have another 10 years in it," he said. He said his agency is going all out to make sure the work is done as quickly as possible. "We're doing everything we can to minimize the impact for the driving public," he said. Chapman added that the contractor on the job, Yonkers Construction, will be fined $45,000 for every day the work goes past schedule, and rewarded with $45,000-a-day bonuses for each day the work comes in early. But drivers' groups were skeptical. "We expect some real difficulties for motorists," said Douglas Love, spokesman for the Automobile Club of New York. "Motorists are going to have to pay for this work in delays." During the day, the bridge will be open and contractors will be fined $500 for every minute their work goes past 6 a.m. The bridge also will operate normally on weekends, officials said. The 150-night project marks the first Brooklyn Bridge re-decking since a full-span modernization for automobile traffic was completed in 1954. The crumbling roadbed isn't the only trouble facing the bridge a world-renowned symbol for the Big Apple. Workers are shoring up the Manhattan side of the span with bright red, steel arches. A state inspection report obtained by The News said the approach was falling out of compliance with modern safety standards and, without re-enforcement, would have been inoperable by 2004. DOT officials said they disagreed with that assessment but that they went ahead with the work to be on the safe side. The $33.5 million job, which is expected to be completed by October, comes eight months after last summer's road repaving, which forced regular night lane closures that often made after-dark travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn unbearable. "Motorists should take this as an opportunity to get familiar with the New York subways and buses and leave their cars at home," said John Kaehny, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. I -v kH Hal)- Qf-S: MNBTMIMMN I DAILY NEWS INSPECTORS from city's Department of Transportation check overpass on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that was struck yesterday by a truck carrying large steel sewer pipes. Damage to bridge was minor. Repairs were expected to be completed today. DQ snarled astrcicEiGpill G3ivar pipso By PAUL H.B. SHIN Md JAMES RUTENBERO Daily News Staff Writers A stack of steel sewer pipes being hauled by a truck struck a Brooklyn Bridge overpass on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway yesterday morning sending pipes tumbling onto two cars and tangling traffic. No one in the cars was injured. But plenty of nerves were frayed as traffic backed up for miles for five hours, forcing thousands of vehicles onto local streets. Frank Kisnofsky, the truck driver, was issued two summonses for disregarding warning signs that indicated the maximum vehicle height allowed under the overpass, police said. Officials said the 80,000-pound rig, owned by a Pennsylvania trucking company, was eastbound on the BQE carrying four large sewer pipes when it hit the Brooklyn Bridge overpass at Cadman Plaza about 7:30 a.m. When the pipes struck the overpass, which is about 15 feet high, two of them were dislodged and crashed onto two adjacent cars, authorities reported. The BQE was closed between Til-lary St. and Cadman Plaza until 12:30 p.m. as inspectors surveyed the damage and workers cleared the road. A spokesman for the city Department of Transportation said inspectors found minimal damage to the overpass. Minor repairs were to be completed by this morning's rush hour, the spokesman said. With Frank Lombardi

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