NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA calls the Long Island Railroad expansion a model project.

CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock went to Garden City for a closer look at how a railroad bridge got replaced in just one weekend.

It’s a modern day marvel of construction tech – called a Self-Propelled Modular Trailer or SPMT – and it’s pivotal in keeping the LIRR expansion project riding along at the right pace.

The SPMT removed the entire Nassau Blvd. Bridge in Garden City and carried it away.

(Credit: MTA)

The main line taken out of service Friday night and remained out of service over the weekend, but it was back up and running during peak rush.

The new bridge was rolled in, constructed on site using 12 prefabricated sections of concrete and steel.

With the bridge in place, crews shored it up, laid tracks, restored power and communications.

The new crossing eliminates low clearance for traffic, which resulted in dozens of bridge strikes in recent years, a lot of LIRR delays, and safety concerns.

“It’s definitely been done (before), but it’s not a common practice,” Tom McGuinness, deputy project director for MTA Capital Construction said.

“250 tons of steel, literally walking it down the street into its position, that’s a cool thing about the design as well.”

“We spend months and weeks planning an operation like this,” McGuinness added. “I think we’ve been fortunate that we make it look easy. We’ve broken the schedule down into 15-minute intervals.”

Smaller intervals helped the MTA minimize setbacks.

With hundreds of crews at work, Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber compares the process to a well-choreographed ballet.

“These are projects that used to take the railroad a year or more and we are doing them in much, much shorter time,” Lieber said.

“They showed their dedication and determination, so hats off,” commuter Swathy Radhakrishnan said.

“It’s a look to the future as to how the MTA is hoping to manage our projects,” MTA officials added.

McGuinness confirms the expansion project is still on-time and slated for completion on budget by late 2022.

LIRR President Phillip Eng adds this is being done with minimal property impact.


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