Verrazano Bridge repair work brings lane closure until 2017
Motorists are facing a lane closure, a detour and other traffic headaches driving on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge now that a major reconstruction project has begun on the span.
The first phase of a massive, $235.7 million project to replace the deck on the upper level of the bridge began on March 7. In addition to replacing the deck, contractors will also be installing a permanent Bus/HOV lane on the upper level of the bridge, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
But the project also entails a lane closure on the upper level, according to M.T.A. officials, who said the closure is necessary in order to give contractors the room to work on demolishing and replacing the existing roadway.
The deck replacement project will be done in four phases. During the first phase of the work, Brooklyn-bound drivers who need access to the Belt Parkway ramp from the upper level of the bridge will have to use the left hand lane, which will be a single lane located to the left of the construction zone.
There will be no direct access to the Belt Parkway from the center lane.
The lane closure will be in effect from now until the summer of 2017.
Prior to the start of the work, the M.T.A. promised to put up signs directing drivers to the dedicated lane.
“We expect there will be a learning curve the first several weeks this new traffic pattern is in place, and we urge motorists to drive with caution, watching and following the new lane usage signs,” said William McCann, director of Bridges South for the M.T.A.
Drivers can always use the lower level of the bridge, which will have three lanes in each direction during peak traveling times.
Additional lanes on both the upper and lower levels of the bridge may have to be closed to facilitate construction during off-peak travel times, M.T.A. officials said.
During the project, there will be three lanes of Brooklyn-bound traffic in the morning and three lanes of Staten Island-bound traffic in the afternoon. The M.T.A. is using movable barriers as the lane markings.
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Southwest Brooklyn to Staten Island, turned 50 years old in 2014. The bridge opened in November of 1964. When it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Under the reconstruction project, workers will demolish the 1960s-era roadway and replace it with a lighter-weight steel orthotropic deck.
The new Bus/HOV lane will benefit drivers, according to M.T.A. officials.
“The new Bus/HOV lane on the bridge will be a great benefit to all who use it,” said David Riggs, the bridge’s facility engineer. “It is the missing piece of the puzzle that will save people time and improve traffic flow daily.”