Traffic Concerns Grow as Brooklyn Bridge Renovation Nears

Manhattan Bridge expected to get 80 percent of the diverted traffic

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Mario Tama
    The renovation of the 126-year-old Brooklyn Bridge will begin in June.

    The large-scale renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge has drivers concerned about the heightened level of congestion that will result when the Manhattan-bound lanes close and traffic is rerouted to the Manhattan Bridge.

    Sparked by the 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis that took 13 lives, the $500 million renovation project, which begins in June, will repair some components of the over-all structurally sound Brooklyn Bridge that state inspectors rated as “poor” and in need of repair, the Brooklyn Paper reports.

    The 126-year-old bridge will get both safety and cosmetic fixes, including new paint job, deck resurfacing, and rehabilitation and widening of the bridge’s ramps and approaches. These measures, when completed, are promised to reduce congestion for the 100,000 drivers who utilize the bridge.

    But during the four-year renovation, traffic lanes will be closed on weeknights from 11 pm to 6 am, on Saturdays from midnight to 7 am, and Sundays from midnight to 9 am. While all six lanes will be open for rush hour, single lane in each direction will be closed during off-peak hours.

    And throughout the course of the project, the Manhattan-bound side of the bridge will be entirely closed for up to 24 weekends.

    “The traffic will increase tremendously,” Captain Vanessa Kight, an executive officer at the 84th Precinct, told the Brooklyn Paper.

    The Manhattan Bridge is expected to get about 80 percent of the detoured vehicles, according to the Brooklyn Paper, and drivers will be diverted to the Flatbush Avenue and Tillary Street intersection to get to the alternative bridge.

    In the end, the renovation will give travelers a smoother ride, with completely replaced approach roadways, two more lanes of free-flowing traffic at the Cadman Plaza exit and from the southbound FDR drive onto the bridge.

    The bridge will also get a fresh coat of “Queensborough tan,” a new coffee-colored paint, after contractors blast away the existing coat of paint and cover the span with protective wrap to prevent the spread of lead particles. The paint job itself will take two years, and will be done during the evenings and early mornings, typical times of traffic.

    But the assurance of a better commuting experience upon the renovation’s completion is doing little to sooth concerns of drivers.

    “Parking is already horrible,” Brooklyn Heights resident Kathlene Gates told the Brooklyn Paper, fearing that the area will get even worse.

    Non-motorists, though, can rest easy -- the bridge span will be open to pedestrians and cyclists during the entire renovation.