A key bridge over Brooklyn’s most-troubled waters — the fetid Gowanus Canal — is back to nearly full capacity this week, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The Department of Transportation has finished the latest phase of the $55-million rehab of the Hamilton Avenue Bridge, a drawbridge that links Carroll Gardens to Park Slope and points south along busy Hamilton Avenue.
Project workers replaced mechanical and electrical operating systems, installed new lights, and renovated the control and bridge tender houses — and now the eight-lane span (actually two four-lane bridges next to each other) — is carrying six lanes of traffic.
That’s up from just four when the repairs started in 2005.
All eight lanes of the bridge will return in mid-October. One lane in each direction is still closed while construction crews repave the road, test the bridge’s strength, and install light sculptures as part of a city-mandated public art component.
Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman said it is “always good news” to hear that a project is ahead of schedule, and added that he is most looking forward to that new art installation.
Brookyn-based artist Jim Conti designed a programmable lighting installation that will be attached to the bridge’s tall, rounded stone towers. The programmable lights will change according to different factors, Hammerman said.
“There will be some kind of exiting, animated feature associated with the lighting,” he said. “It’s something that will really be alive.”
Several ideas so far include a light pattern that varies with the tide, or with the volume of traffic passing over the bridges, Hammerman said.
Hammerman was not the only person pleased that the main bridge work is done.
“It’s a wonderful surprise!” said Robin Doddie, who uses the bridge regularly. “I never expected it to be done on time, let alone early.”
©2008 Community News Group
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