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Bridge two far! Manhattan, like Brooklyn, span to undergo long renovation

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The Manhattan Bridge is about to undergo a two-year cable reconstruction project — and you’re about to undergo a double-dose of traffic congestion.

Department of Transportation officials said that the $834-million project would cut off upper- and lower-lanes of traffic, pedestrian paths and bicycle thoroughfares in segments every weekend starting as early as August and continuing for three years — the same period of time that the Brooklyn Bridge will be undergoing its own renovation.

Both construction projects are being coordinated so that workers are only closing lanes on one bridge at a time, but drivers and bikers are miffed.

“I was already pissed that the Brooklyn Bridge repairs were coming — this is gonna kill my commute,” said Jim Dearborn, a Downtown resident who regularly uses the bridge to and from work in Manhattan. “I’m really going to have to pay the money to use the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, aren’t I?”

Other community members echoed woes about congestion when drivers will already be using the bridge as a detour for the Brooklyn Bridge repairs — during that time, the Manhattan Bridge is supposed to field 80-percent of Brooklyn Bridge traffic. Transportation officials noted that most of the work will occur Monday through Friday and some off-peak hours, while Brooklyn Bridge repairs are scheduled for the weekends.

It’s all part of a contract to strengthen the four cables holding up the Manhattan Bridge, a project that takes place about every 15 years. Workers will also replace the bridge’s suspenders, which were last upgraded in 1955. Details on the closures are on the Department of Transportation Web site.

The work will inevitably result in a big mess: one lane of the lower roadway will be closed except during peak Brooklyn Bridge construction, there will be off-peak lane closures on the upper roadways, staggered bikeway and walkway detours and D train interruptions for two of the weekends.

“They expect [Manhattan Bridge] bikers to use the pedestrian pathways that ends at two of the craziest streets in Lower Manhattan,” said Caroline Samponaro, director of Transportation Alternatives, referring to the Bowery and Canal Street. “There has to be a way to keep pedestrian and bike pathways accessible during constructi­on.”

Transportation officials acknowledged the traffic debacle facing bridge-goers at the end of the year. Here’s a roundup of closures affecting your commute:

• Most of the Manhattan Bridge work will occur between 7 am and 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, though there will be “minimal” weekend and night work.

• There will be a carpool lane open Monday through Friday from 6 am to 10 am on weekdays to curb some traffic problems. It’ll be located on the upper roadway in the left lane — its easiest accesses are from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Flatbush Avenue, but drivers coming from Nassau Street and Gold Street can also enter it by following signs once the construction begins.

Weekdays

Manhattan-bound:

• Lower-level lanes are open from 5 am to 3 pm, when they will revert to Brooklyn-bound traffic.

• There will be two lanes of traffic open on the upper level, except from 6 am to 10 am, when one of the Manhattan-bound lanes will change to carpool-only.

Brooklyn-bound:

• Lower-level lanes are closed from 5 am to 3 pm, and open to Brooklyn-bound traffic from 3 pm to 5 am the next day.

• The upper level will almost always be open for two lanes of traffic during the weekdays.

Weekend

Manhattan-bound:

• The lower level will be closed on Friday from 3 pm to 9 pm.

• The upper level will almost always be open for two lanes of traffic during the weekend.

Brooklyn-bound:

• The lower level will be open on Friday from 3 pm to 9 pm, then closes to Manhattan-bound traffic for the rest of the weekend.

• The upper level will almost always be open for two lanes of traffic during the weekend.

Bikes and pedestrians

• Normally, pedestrians and bikers each have one side of the bridge to themselves. During construction, one pathway will always be closed both are expected to share one side.

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Reader Feedback

kelly from Park Slope says:
Great... both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges will have work being done at the same time. Nice planning, DOT!
July 20, 2010, 6:15 am
Michael Quirk from Prospect Heights says:
These are necessary rehabilitation projects on both bridges to keep them safe. The Brooklyn Bridge has been in constant use since 1883. The DOT is staging and scheduling the projects to provide minimum disruption to traffic. Stop complaining.
July 21, 2010, 12:37 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
They both came on at once because the Manhattan Bridge had the money with contracts let and the stimulus money for the Brooklyn Bridge became available and had to be spent NOW. So blame it on Obama.
July 21, 2010, 5:41 pm
john from clinton hill says:
awww, look at the yuppies crying! these are the same folks who complain about the condition of the bridge, but yet when the city steps in and does the right thing about bridge repairs, they still complain. get a life you spoiled interlopers and grow up!hahahaha
July 21, 2010, 8:02 pm
Rachel from Prospect Heights says:
I had my life flash in front of me on the Manhattan Bridge this morning in a cab coming home to Brooklyn from Manhattan. They opened the lower-level to Manhattan bound traffic *before* shutting it to Brooklyn bound traffic. There was another cab ahead of us and we were all flying along, with no traffic on the bridge, and then all of a sudden we see trucks and tons of traffic flying at us. The cab ahead of mine turned his quickly around to the side, and thankfully the traffic was just able to stop in time before hitting him. This gave my cab time to quickly turn around. After we came back over and turned around to take the upper-level home, we saw that they had finally put something to mark it. This was around 5:30am, a good half hour from when it was supposed to have be shut off. Scary stuff!
July 22, 2010, 6:04 am
Stuart from Indooroopilly Australia says:
I will be in New York around mid August. After a lifetime spent in civil engineering I'm looking forward to finally seeing Brooklyn Bridge, surely one of the world's great icons. As it has served the citizens of NYC and delighted the rest of the globe for around 130 years, I'm delighted its custodians want to give it some love and attention. Those who imagine they will have to make some sort of sacrifice as it's being refurbished should perhaps read up on the life of the three Roeblings who made it all happen. That's what I call sacrifice.
July 22, 2010, 7:11 am
Mike says:
“I’m really going to have to pay the money to use the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, aren’t I?”

Or you could take the subway, like a normal person.

This is why we need bridge tolls.
July 28, 2010, 11:56 am

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