Saturday, December 19, 2009
Hell Gate Bridge falling apart
From the Queens Gazette:
City Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. is calling on Amtrak for immediate and permanent rehabilitation of the Hell Gate Bridge, recently rated the worst in Queens.
Since he first took office, Vallone has written numerous letters to Amtrak highlighting the need for structural updates, including a completely new paint job and cameras installed to prevent vandalism.
Most recently, a longtime Astoria resident called Vallone’s office for help after a five-foot piece of debris fell from the bridge into her backyard. “I heard a loud noise when it fell, it looks like a rubber hose. I’ve never seen anything like it,” the resident said. The resident said she often notices nuts, bolts and pieces of wood that have landed in her yard from the bridge and sets up a gazebo in the summer to protect against the falling objects.
The New York state Department of Transportation recently gave the Hell Gate Bridge the lowest rating in its scoring system after reviewing every bridge in Queens.
“Who knows what this thing is. Maybe it’s a necessary track safety device,” Vallone said. “Residents shouldn’t have to worry about whether these UFOs, Unidentified Falling Objects, came from aliens or Amtrak.”