The $24.5-million project, funded through the MTA Capital Program and Federal Transit Administration grants, will also require the shutdown of train service on four other weekends later this year: March 20-21, March 27-28, May 1-2 and May 15-16. In addition to the weekend dates, work will require the railroad to close the eastbound platforms at Island Park, Oceanside, East Rockaway and Centre Avenue on five other weekends: February 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 and March 6-7. All trains will operate from westbound platforms at those stations.
Both the Powell Creek Bridge (located between the LIRR's East Rockaway and Oceanside stations) and the Hog Island Channel Bridge (located between Oceanside and Island Park stations) were built in the 1920s and served the LIRR for nearly 90 years.
"Without the long term financing for new infrastructure that the MTA's Capital Program provides, it would be impossible to undertake projects like this," said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. "These two bridges are being replaced as part of our ongoing efforts to modernize and ensure safe and reliable service for our customers for decades to come."
MTA Capital Program funds for the project total $14.2 million, while the FTA has added $10.3 million. The international construction company, Kiewit Constructors Inc., is the prime contractor and Kiewit, in turn, is employing a number of subcontractors. Much of the material being used has been purchased from local firms in the tri-state region.
The bridge replacement program has created approximately, 47 new full time jobs, including 12 construction managers at Kiewit and 35 craft labor positions involving operating engineers, dock builders and laborers. Numerous LIRR employees will be installing new track and signals over the bridges.
Work on the project began in November but is only now impacting service. To limit that impact, most of the work will be done during 48-hour weekend shifts.
The Powell Creek and Hog Island Bridges are open-deck wooden and steel structures supported by wooden piles through which water is visible below. Both bridges will be removed and replaced with pre-cast concrete structures, supported by reinforced concrete-filled, steel pipe piles, supporting safer, closed-deck concrete track roadbeds.
A recurring flooding condition at Powell Creek Bridge, which has at times led to delays and temporary service suspensions, will be corrected by raising the elevation of the new bridge by approximately one foot. Bridge walkways will also be installed at both locations to make it safer for LIRR employees.
The project is being coordinated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Town of Hempstead.