Utility pole placement could result in an unexpected temporary rail bridge on LIRR project

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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The Long Island Rail Road’s feud with a village could cost millions.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was not planning on this first with its Third Track Expansion Project.

The railroad may have to build a temporary rail bridge in Garden City, N.Y., to avoid any delays caused by a court battle.

The Incorporated Village of Garden City is appealing a court ruling ordering the village to OK permits necessary for the replacement of the Denton Avenue bridge. The village is not happy with how crews on the LIRR project placed 90-ft utility poles. Residents are not happy, either, as many say the poles are too close to homes.

The village said LIRR did not follow the proper review process for the proposed redesign of the roadway underneath the rail bridge. State Supreme Court Justice Helen Voutsinas disagreed and ruled in favor of the railroad last week. Voutsinas said the bridge replacement project could advance separate from the roadway redesign.

The village is now appealing the decision and believes the bridge and the roadway underneath it are essentially one of the same.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) thinks the appeal process will not begin until Spring 2022, so the agency and LIRR could build a temporary structure next to the existing one. The temporary bridge would be constructed on LIRR property that also would carry the third track.

However, going with Plan B could cost as much as $50 million. LIRR would have to eventually demolish the temporary bridge before building the permanent structure.

Garden City Mayor Cosmo Veneziale had said the MTA refused to provide the documents needed for the bridge work permits. Furthermore, Veneziale and other officials were under the impression the utility poles would be placed on the north side of the tracks in an industrial area. Instead, the poles were installed on the south side across the street from homes. MTA said it made no promises regarding the placement of the utility poles.

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