Work to remove and replace the original 1930’s-era steel curb stringers supporting the upper level roadway of the bridge is continuing, with new steel support beams and steel grids already in place.
The three-year, nearly $32 million construction project began in May and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2013. To get a better look at the work that is being done go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd-koD49kkU to view an MTA You Tube video on the project, or visit www.mta.info and click on the Bridges and Tunnels construction link to view photos.
The original steel curb stringers, resembling a hollow metal box, were the structural support method used when the bridge was built in the 1930s, are not watertight. Through the years water has seeped in causing some of the steel to deteriorate.
The old curb stringer boxes were removed and dozens of new sub-stringer steel beams, each weighing about 3,000 pounds, are now being hoisted into place from beneath the roadway to support the upper level. The roadway will then be built out where the old curb stringers once were and new concrete decking poured that will form a barrier to keep water from seeping in and better protect the steel.
“Using this design will help protect the bridge’s support structure for many decades to come,” said Walter Hickey, Henry Hudson Bridge Facility Engineer, “and it will also be easier and less expensive to maintain than the original curb stringer boxes.”
Motorists will also benefit from the removal of an unused, maintenance sidewalk on the upper level east side of the bridge, which is closed to the public. Once eliminated, the extra roadway will be added and lanes restriped, resulting in wider, more uniform traffic lanes across the bridge and a new safety shoulder.
Contractor Judlau Inc., of Queens, has been working on the west side of the bridge in the far left lane, resulting in a 24/7 closure of that lane from just after the toll plaza across the full-length of the bridge. Two lanes remain open during peak, weekday travel times.
Once work is completed later this year, the left lane will be reopened and the contractor will switch to the east side of the bridge. At this time the far right lane will be closed around-the-clock.
In addition to wider roadways and a new support structure, new energy-efficient roadway lighting will be added. The new roadway light poles will be designed to replicate the original 1930s-style lights in order to blend in with the bridge’s Depression-era design.
The 75-year-old Henry Hudson Bridge opened to traffic Dec. 12, 1936. Originally just one level, the bridge proved so popular that an upper level was added two years later.