The Belt Parkway’s only drawbridge is being raised — permanently!
As part of a sweeping reconstruction project along the Belt Parkway, the Mill Basin Drawbridge is being replaced by a wider and — more importantly — higher bridge, allowing tall ships to sail underneath without the need to stall traffic.
“You have to wait, five, 10, 15 minutes for that thing to go up and down,” said Marine Park resident John Manzola.
“That will be nice once they have it replaced.”
The new bridge will be raised 60-feet off the water at high tide, 25-feet higher than the current bridge, allowing it to accommodate tall vessels without having to be raised and lowered — not to mention giving motorists a better view.
Aside from no longer having to be raised or lowered, the new bridge will not suffer from the same occasional malfunctions as the current crossing.
Most recently, the bridge was stuck in the up position for almost three hours in July last year, stranding dozens of motorists.
Lanes will be wider on the new bridge as well, edging out the 11-feet 4-inch-wide lanes of the older bridge by an additional eight glorious inches, and will include safety shoulders in both directions.
The Department of Transportation is still taking bids from contractors, but construction of the new bridge is expected to begin later this year and be finished sometime in 2017.
The Mill Basin Drawbridge was opened on June 29, 1940, and is currently the only moveable bridge along the Belt Parkway.
The bridge is being replaced along with six other spans along the Belt Parkway, including crossings at the Paerdegat Basin, the Gerritsen Inlet, and the Bay Ridge Avenue bridges in Brooklyn, along with the Fresh Creek Basin and Rockaway Parkway bridges in Queens.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn