Carroll Bridge will close for repairs

Carroll Bridge will close for repairs
File photo by Tom Callan

The city will shut down the historic Carroll Street Bridge to all traffic for at least four months for critical repairs, Community Board 6 announced Monday.

Starting April 1, the vital link between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope will close to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians as the Department of Transportation works to revamp the 124-year-old wood-planked bridge over the Gowanus Canal.

The city plans to replace the “deteriorated timber deck,” restore the expansion joints, clean and paint waning structural steel, make sidewalk repairs, and other improvements — and Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman says those repairs will help mend severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“When Hurricane Sandy hit and the water level rose above the bridge it became completely immersed in water at one point and the steel underside suffered a great deal of rust and erosion as a result,” said Hammerman. “The timbers themselves are in pretty bad shape so this is going to address those conditions, which will effectively expand the lifespan by another decade or so.”

The $600,000 project will not include repairs to storm-damaged electrical and hydraulic equipment — replacing those mechanisms will be part of a future bridge project, according to an agency spokesman.

The city suggests that drivers who frequent the one-way, eastbound crossing use the Union Street Bridge two blocks away as an alternative. Third Street, Ninth Street, and Hamiton Avenue also span the waterway.

Neighbors say the closure will definitely be an inconvenience, but that repair work on the 17-foot-wide, 107-foot-long bridge is necessary.

“The bridge is extremely rickety and in desperate need of fixing,” said Barbie Vella of First Street, who frequently drives over the Carroll Street Bridge to get to Park Slope. “It’s only a matter of time before a car falls right through that bridge into that poisonous water.”

The landmarked retractile bridge is a symbol of the area’s industrial past and is one of an estimated four remaining bridges of its kind left in the country — the bridge rolls back horizontally on wheels set on steel rails to make room for passing boats.

Work on the bridge will take place from 7 am to 4 pm on weekdays and there will be no parking permitted in the work zone area. The completion date is slated for August.

In other bridge-related news, the city will cut down traffic to one lane on the Fifth Avenue Bridge over Green-Wood Cemetery for repairs also slated to begin on April 1. Construction is expected to be completed in July, the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights announced Monday.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.