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Building bridges: Delayed Belt Parkway spans are back on track

Slowly but surely: Workers are busy building the Mill Basin Drawbridge over Jamaica Bay, which is supposed to be completed in 2021.
Brooklyn Daily
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They are back on (the new) schedule!

The long-delayed reconstruction of the Belt Parkway’s Mill Basin Drawbridge and Gerritsen Inlet Bridge is running on time now that the city has updated its time tables, officials say. And it’s about time the work gets done in earnest, according to one local who says the delays to the Gerritsen Beach bridge have exacerbated major roadway backups — especially when it rains.

“All work came to a halt. You got grass growing on the piles of dirt they dug,” said Marine Parker Robert Lobenstein. “Every time it rains, it floods so all the traffic comes to a halt. Everything seems to have come to a grand stop and it’s not fair to the drivers because every time it rains, the world comes to a stop over there.”

The construction is part of a $365-million federal- and city-funded project to rebuild the seven bridges linking Brooklyn to Kennedy Airport that began in 2009. The city had to revise its schedules after the New York State Design Standards changed bridge designs, according to information from the Department of Transportation.

Now, the city is giving itself a little more time to get things done.

Work on the new Mill Basin Drawbridge was supposed to begin in 2013 and finish in four years by 2017, but construction did not start until 2015 and is now expected to wrap six years later in 2021. It will tear down the old one, which was erected in 1940, some time in 2018.

Workers are more than halfway done putting up the new Gerritsen Inlet Bridge, whose construction began in February 2013 and is expected to finish in September of next year, said a spokeswoman.

Anyone can check the construction progress via the Department of Transporta­tion’s Belt Parkway Facebook page: www.facebook.com/beltparkway.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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