Monday, July 16, 2018
Hope for the Lefferts Ave bridge
From the Queens Chronicle:
At a Wednesday meeting with elected officials and civic leaders, Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng said the MTA has devised a plan to save the Kew Gardens span and the handful of small businesses on top of it, according to multiple people who were at the gathering.
“It was a productive meeting. The LIRR came back and said there’s a way to fix the bridge to make it stable,” Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) told the Chronicle on Wednesday. “There’s a very clear pathway forward to rehabilitate the bridge. Nothing is done until its done, but it was a very optimistic meeting.”
The MTA originally said last May that the century-old span had decayed to the point where it would have to be torn down come 2020 — the year the entrepreneurs’ collective lease expires.
But in the 14 months since, mass community outrage led to both the MTA softening its position and state lawmakers passing legislation calling for a bridge rehabilitation feasibility study.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) even allocated $1 million for one.
But shortly after Eng took over as the head of the LIRR, he met with area lawmakers and civic leaders in June to hear their concerns and discuss how to potentially save the span.
In the following six weeks, Rosenthal said, Eng stayed true to his word.
“I’m not an engineer, but there is a way to — underneath the bridge — remove the deteriorating concrete and replace it,” the assemblyman said. “Today, [the LIRR] came back and they showed it was more than just words. They showed they have a realistic, tenable plan.”