LIRR installing bridges on Long Beach Branch

Written by jrood

There will be no train service along the Long Beach Branch January 23-24 and January 30-31 due to the installation of two new MTA Long Island Rail Road bridges over Powell Creek and Hog Island Channel. Buses will serve LIRR customers between Long Beach and Valley Stream on both weekends. Regular weekday train service will not be affected by the project.

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

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.