Atlantic Terminal security sarcophagi removal pushed back

Bollard backtrack! MTA reverses course on Atlantic Terminal security sarcophagi
File photo by Barry Shifrin

The massive granite barricades ringing the Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Terminal will be ripped out later this year — not starting last month like the MTA originally said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will tap a contractor this month to replace unpopular security sarcophagi at the entrance to the borough’s busiest transit hub with stainless steel cylinders, but a spokesman would only promise that the boulders will be removed during the “early part” of the year-long construction project.

Agency spokesman Sam Zambuto declined to give a more concrete timetable or explain why the $6-million rock swap can’t be done any faster.

Neighbors who hate the concrete coffins convinced the MTA to sub them out — and they say they just want the agency to get rid of the stones out as quickly as possible.

“This should have been taken care of already,” said Robert Llambelis. “The [MTA] should do what they said they will.”

Denise Davies, who lives within walking distance from the station, said that she can’t wait to see the blocks go.

“They’re an eyesore,” Davies said. “I don’t think they’re necessary.”

The hugely oversized bollards were met with similar criticism when the glitzy $106-million Atlantic Terminal renovation wrapped up in January, 2010.

At the time, LIRR President Helena Williams said the security measure was necessary to meet NYPD standards, but the bollards actually exceed police criteria in height and proximity to each other.

In a stunning reversal last August, the MTA announced that the blocks would be replaced with “smaller and less intrusive” metal bollards in February — a start date that the agency now claims was always scheduled for March, if not later.

The new bollards, which were approved by the NYPD, are planned to be strong enough to stop a 15,000-pound truck driving 50 miles per hour.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.