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New Report Calls Into Question Safety, Soundness Of Bridges In New York City Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – We’re accustomed to the near-constant maintenance work on New York City’s major bridges.

To Read The Full Report, Click Here

Despite all that maintenance, a report calls into question their safety and utility.

Transportation For America has released a report reviewing the state of our nation’s bridges, and its findings about the bridges in our area are sure to raise eyebrows.

The report classifies the Brooklyn Bridge as “structurally deficient,” meaning it requires more frequent monitoring, critical maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. Some 106,392 cars cross the bridge per day, according to the report. The report says the Triboro Bridge is also “structurally deficient.”

The Manhattan Bridge is dubbed “functionally obsolete,” meaning that while it is not run down, it’s not the best plan for the 48,416 cars that cross it a day, on average. The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, which takes 120,284 cars a day on average, is also dubbed “functionally obsolete.” The same designation is slapped on the George Washington Bridge, which handles some 285,620 cars per day.

All in all in the New York metropolitan area, 9.8 percent of the bridges are considered deficient.

Department of Transportation spokesman Seth Solomonow was critical of the report and the agency released a statement saying “all of New York City’s 787 bridges are in a state of good repair or have rehabilitation projects underway or planned.”

The statement goes on to make mention of a $508 million project to “rehabilitate the approach ramps to the Brooklyn Bridge.”

“This is the result of this administration’s unprecedented $5 billion in investment in our bridges’ state of good repair, and it is vital to extend federal support for New York’s — and our nation’s — bridges and infrastructure,” the statement read.

Transportation For America is a group which describes itself as “a broad coalition of housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development and other organizations.”

“The nation needs a healthy transportation system that is ready for the rapidly changing economy of the 21st Century,” says a statement on their website. “Our national transportation policy has barely changed since the 1950s, when gas was 20 cents a gallon and President Eisenhower launched the interstate highway system.”

The group seeks “A healthy transportation system that is ready for the rapidly changing economy of the 21st Century.”

Should the bridges be replaced? Should there be a major infrastructure project of that sort in our area? Sound off in our comments section below.

  • Ellen Freudenheim

    Actually, the CBS report above is more than a little alarmist. It’s a lot alarmist!

    I write for another outlet about Brooklyn, and live in Brooklyn, and thought yikes, are these bridges safe or what? So I looked into it.

    Specifically, I made calls to the NYC, NY State, and federal agencies involved, and also the organization that produced this report. Here’s what I found out: Is the Brooklyn Bridge Safe? It’s at:

    In a nutshell: The Brooklyn Bridge and other local East River bridges are in need of ongoing repair (no surprise there, they are 100 years old or more) and the categorization of “structural deficiency” sounds much more dire to the lay person than in fact it is. These bridges are safe. It’s a totally silly questions, “should the bridges be replaced.” What’s needed is enough money dedicated to infrastructure to preserve and KEEP safe what we have.

    The question posed here, “Should the bridges be replaced?” is just silly.

  • Ain'tBuyinIt

    Lemme guess – the report was sponsored by the people who build bridges…..

  • Wolf

    To replace any bridge in the NYC area will take 20 years. Politics, corruption, greed and too much red tape. It took ONE YEAR to build the empire state building. Of course, if people want to be hard honest working people like we had in the thirties… a bridge could be replaced in less than five years. Put a bridge out of commission and people will have to take public transportation. Lets put people to work and get these bridges replaced. The report fails to mention the number of heavy and often over weighted trucks that travel these bridges daily, and it does not mention the added wear and tear and stress of major north east storms. Don’t wait for the damn to break because its only a small leak. Get it done now.

  • Rugbyball

    Of course they should be replaced, except for the Brooklyn Br. which has a landmark quality to it, the remainder of the major crossing bridges are utilitarian and should be considered replaceable. Problem is logistics and politics.
    Which do you do, build a replacement bridge next to the existing one so there is minimal interruption. Or do you tear down the existing bridge and build new one on same site, inconveniencing the public for possibly a decade and pushing additional traffic, and wear and tear, onto existing bridges.
    If you go with the build new enxt to old, then you have to obtain the land next to the bridge displacing those people and business and eventually shift roads over to the new bridge. The city has done this successfully on smaller bridges, namely the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge in Howard Beach, Queens, but that is a much smaller bridge in complexity and traffic. But it shows it can be done.
    Tear down and build on same site is another option but I think that is a bad option since you are pushing the load onto other already stressed bridges.
    I prefer the build new next to old option, yes it means moving business and people adjacent to the bridge(s) however you could offer the new land where the old bridge stood to these people, yes I know 5-10 years later, but it is an offer they can refuse and keep the money they where paid for there existing property. Either choice, the city needs to do something sooner rather than later. It seems the politicians want to wait till we have a 5 o’clock new reel of a bridge falling into the river before they do anything, and then they will blame everyone else for it getting so bad!

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