The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will replace the railroad's 103-year-old Post Avenue Bridge that carries the Main Line over Post Avenue at the Westbury train station.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) says he new bridge will be 13 feet wider than the existing bridge in order to accommodate the Third Track and will mark the first completed Third Track-related project since the Main Line Expansion Project was approved in July. The $9.7-million bridge project utilizes a design-build contract to expedite the timetable of the project, which MTA says is on track to be on time and on budget.
“After 70 years of stagnation, New York is regaining its building spirit and transforming the LIRR into the 21st century commuter rail that Long Island deserves,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “By rebuilding the Post Avenue bridge and paving the way for the historic Third Track project, we are showing that it’s possible to upgrade the LIRR on time, on budget and with community input at every step of the way. While others talk about infrastructure, New York is getting it done.”
Workers began assembling the new bridge in April of this year in the parking lot at the Westbury station to minimize traffic and rail disruptions. The project’s culmination will take place on the weekend of October 21-22, when MTA says workers will use cranes and an industrial-grade movable hydraulic lift to remove the existing bridge and replace it with the new bridge, all timed down to the minute to ensure that all the work is wrapped up before the first train of the Monday morning rush hour.
The new bridge will be 50 feet wide, or 13 feet wider than the 37-feet-wide old bridge, and is one of several bridges that are being expanded to accommodate a third track. The $2-billion Third Track project will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, and eliminate all seven street-level grade crossings within the project corridor.
Additionally, MTA reports that the existing bridge has been struck by trucks between five and nine times per year in each of the past six years, resulting in extensive train delays. The new bridge will have a clearance of 14 feet above the roadway, or two feet, two inches higher than 11-foot, 10-inch clearance of the old bridge. The increase in clearance will improve train service by significantly reducing bridge strikes.
“After decades of delays and false starts, the LIRR is moving forward with historic projects to strengthen service and improve communities all along the railroad, including the Village of Westbury,” said Village of Westbury Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro. “From expanding parking to eliminating dangerous grade crossings to ensuring sound protection for our residents, the LIRR has taken the community’s input into consideration at every step of the way. This is why I was the first mayor and the Village of Westbury was the first village to sign onto the third track plan. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and for his commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure on Long Island.”