Residents and business owners who have been waiting since 2010 for the reopening of the 149th Street bridge between Roosevelt and 41st avenues in Murray Hill still have a long wait ahead of them, according to elected officials, who announced last week that shoddy workmanship is forcing the city to demolish the structure and start over.
Among those meeting behind closed doors at Queens Borough Hall last Friday were state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and New York City DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall. The elected officials then held a press conference outside.
Stavisky reported that about a dozen representatives from the city, including those involved in the legal and engineering aspects of the project, were also there.
The bridge, which was originally built in 1924, runs over the Long Island Rail Road tracks. It was considered “in fair condition” when it was inspected in 2007 and, three years later, in March 2010, was closed for reconstruction. It was expected to reopen in May 2012.
Pointing to a photograph of the barricades on the bridge, Kim said, “Every time I see this, I get frustrated,” blaming “bureaucratic failure” for the multiple delays.
In May 2012, the bridge, which cost around $7 million, was inspected by the Department of Transportation, that found cracks making it unsafe to carry vehicles. The pedestrian sidewalk was reopened in June of that year.
According to Kim, it was determined that there is a “need to demolish and rebuild” the bridge. The project is in the “re-design” phase, to be followed by the bidding process.
The city is suing the contractor, Gandhi Engineering.