From the Queens Chronicle:
The New York State Department of Transportation has called it “the bridge wave” — and it’s already cresting in Queens and beyond. Over the next decade, more bridges than ever before will surpass their 50-year life expectancy with many needing repair or replacement.
Despite improved bridge conditions and investment, scores of spans in Queens and citywide remain deficient. Experts worry state and federal budget cuts to transportation will impact the city’s ability to invest in sustained, long-term projects to reverse the trend towards deterioration.
Queens has 36 deficient bridges, “The Fix We’re in For” states, among them the MTA-owned Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges. That’s 7.4 percent of its 484 bridges. Nearly 1.4 million vehicles cross over these 36 spans every day.
The worst rated bridge in Queens — the Borden Avenue Bridge — was deficient in all three categories upon last inspection, with its lowest rating a two in substructure. The city-owned retractile bridge, built in 1908, spans the Dutch Kills beside a strip club in a heavily industrial area of Sunnyside. Roughly 4,000 vehicles travel over it each day.
In 2009, the span was closed after inspectors noticed that a shift in the western abutment was undermining the bridge’s stability. Emergency repairs cost $45 million.
The city DOT has appropriated $40 million in capital investments to replace the existing steel bridge in 2017, one of more than 20 Queens spans under design by the city for projects slated from next year to 2020, including deck replacement for the Roosevelt Avenue bridge over the Flushing River and Van Wyck Expressway, Queensboro Bridge ramps, and the Rikers Island Bridge.