MTA Bridges and Tunnels today opened the first new ramp added to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge since the bridge’s original 1960s construction. The new, two-lane lower level connector ramp from the Staten Island Expressway heading to Brooklyn is part of the $50 million toll plaza improvement project.
“The new lower level connector ramp will immediately improve traffic flow through the busy I-278 corridor by accommodating more traffic from the Staten Island Expressway,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Engineer Project Manager Piv Lim. “We expect motorists will notice this positive change right away.”
The newly reconstructed Brooklyn-bound Narrows Road South and Lily Pond Avenue fly-over ramps will pass over the new lower level connector ramp. During the next stage of construction work motorists using the Narrows Road South ramp will only have access to the upper level of the bridge while motorists using the Lily Pond ramp can access either level of the bridge. Trucks and vehicles carrying hazardous materials must continue to use the upper level of the bridge only.
The Brooklyn-bound Father Capodanno entrance ramp will maintain the same two-lane configuration and shift slightly toward the southern part of the plaza. Once work on that ramp is finished it will include two eight-foot-wide shoulders for the first time.
Contractor Restani Corp., of Queens, will continue to rehabilitate the approach to the bridge across what was once the Brooklyn-bound toll plaza. The original toll plaza roadway, originally designed for stop-and-go traffic, is being realigned to accommodate traffic that no longer has to stop. The contractor will also remove the existing steel, sign gantry at the split to the upper and the lower level of the bridge and install two new sign gantries. The project also includes a new roadway drainage system and all new lighting.
The project, which is 75 percent completed, is scheduled to be finished in early 2015. The work is being done in close coordination with New York State Department of Transportation’s Staten Island Expressway Access Improvement project. Throughout the project, MTA Bridges and Tunnels has maintained all lanes of traffic.