Bridge shakeup: State to fix rattletrap Bay Ridge overpass

Over it: Mary Beth and Danny Rivera grit their teeth and hold on for dear life as they cross 86th Street’s quaking Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overpass in Bay Ridge.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Ridgites have to hold tight for another year.

The state will fix the notoriously shaky 86th Street overpass spanning the Gowanus Expressway next year, according to transit officials. And traversing Bay Ridge’s “Galloping Gertie” couldn’t happen soon enough — spanning the tottery viaduct has some locals trembling, one crosser said.

“Its like a deep rumble, you can feel it in your stomach — it vibrates up and you feel your whole body move,” Dyker Heights resident Mary Beth Rivera. “I think it’s crazy that people park their cars on it, I feel like it’s going to fall and all the cars with it onto the highway.”

The bridge gets the fits when buses cross and when trucks pass on the expressway below, and Community Board has fielded more than a dozen complaints since last fall from worried walkers, the district manager said.

“We’re very excited that the state Department of Transportation has included the 86th street overpass [in a rehabilitation project], especially considering that in the last few months we’ve had many complaints about increased vibrations and deteriorating conditions on the overpass,” Josephine Beckmann said.

The board requested both city and state transportation agencies look over the bridge in September, Beckmann said. Inspectors noted the bridge had absorbed a lot of wear and tear, but the state could not account for what is causing the increased vibrations, according to a state transportation department spokeswoman. The state had already slated the overpass for work as part of a four-bridge, $36-million restoration project it started planning in 2014, she said.

Workers will replace the roadway deck — the structure directly underneath the pavement — and spot-repair steel supports, the spokeswoman said. The agency will also upgrade lighting above and below the span, and it expects construction to start in 2017, she said.

Here’s the 86th Street overpass doing what it does best:

Video by Jordan Rathkopf

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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