149th Street Bridge Must be Completely Rebuilt, Slated to Open in November 2015
Queens, NY—Immediately following a meeting with New York City Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall and other DOT officials, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Council Member Peter Koo (D-Flushing) announced at a press conference at Queens Borough Hall that the long defunct 149th Street Bridge must be completely rebuilt before it can be re-opened to vehicular traffic.
The 149th Street bridge was initially closed for demolition and reconstruction in May 2010. Originally scheduled to reopen in November 2011, the project was plagued by numerous delays. In May 2012, further inspection by the Department of Transportation revealed cracks in the cement, making the bridge unfit for vehicular traffic.
Though it was opened to pedestrian traffic on June 8, 2012, the Department of Transportation gave no further update on the project until today as a result of pending litigation against the firm responsible for the bridge’s initial design.
The DOT confirmed today that the bridge must be completely demolished and rebuilt. The project is currently being redesigned and is expected to be ready for bidding in two months.
“It’s extremely disappointing that we have to start this project again from square one,” said Senator Stavisky. “However, I am optimistic that this new administration is working as quickly as possible to get this bridge completed and re-opened. I know that residents and business owners are extremely frustrated with what has become an over 4-year process and I pledge to hold the Department of Transportation accountable to their new deadline.”
“The inability to open the 149th Street Bridge for four years is a sign that our government bureaucracies have been failing our communities in Flushing,” said Assemblyman Kim. “However, the new administration has given us hope that we will reach a conclusion on this issue. I want to thank the Department of Transportation and the Mayor's office for cooperating with us and hope that they will continue to do so so that in November 2015, we can finally open this bridge. The community has waited way too long.”
“To put it plainly, this bridge debacle has frustrated and angered many people in our community, my colleagues and I included. We've demanded answers and have fought for a resolution for several years now, only to have roadblocks thrown at us at every turn,” saidCouncil Member Koo. “But now, finally, there seems to be a light at the end of the road. Our fierce advocacy has brought us to the point where a timeline for the bridge's reconstruction is now in place. I, along with Senator Stavisky and Assemblyman Kim, will continue to hold accountable those responsible for this fiasco until it has been resolved once and for all.”
Senator Stavisky, Assemblyman Kim and Councilman Koo plan on working closely with the DOT to ensure that the promised timeline is executed in a timely and transparent manner.
As well as requesting periodic status updates on the project moving forward, the legislators also urged Commissioner Hall to meet with business owners in the area to explain the next steps of the project.
“As the saying goes—measure twice, cut once. It’s not measure twice, build a bridge twice. I want to assure the residents of Flushing that my colleagues and I will continue to monitor the situation. Within the next four weeks, Commissioner Hall has agreed to meet with local merchants and as a result I hope that the relationship between the community and DOT can become more productive,” concluded Senator Stavisky.