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Ridgewood residents were hopeful that reconstruction of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge would finally start this spring, but it’s been delayed again.
The path, which is elevated over LIRR tracks where Metropolitan Avenue intersects Fresh Pond Road, carries major truck traffic and is long overdue for repairs. In 2007, city officials informed Community Board (CB) 5 it was in danger of collapse.
Financial troubles delayed its original reconstruction start date back in 2009, and at a recent CB 5 Transportation Committee meeting, it was said that it’s been pushed back yet again, because the project has to undergo review and redesign.
The bridge is just one of a few major transportation projects, together worth about $115 million, in CB 5 that just keep getting delayed. The Metropolitan Avenue Bridge alone could be a $25 million project, CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said.
“You are talking about a lot of money for one district,” Giordano said. “We keep bringing them up at our transportation meeting because we believe that they need to be done and want don’t want to forget about them.”
Developers are now considering building an abutment, eliminating one track under the bridge, to help the building process.
The 111-year-old bridge is so narrow that it can’t support two-way traffic, although it is a two-way span, with all the big rigs and city buses that traverse it. The new bridge would cost about $50 million.
The plan for a new bridge was ready to go when Sandy struck in 2012 and flooded the area. Now plans are being redesigned to meet new flood regulations.
Besides the bridges, major street rebuilding plans have also been set back.
The Wyckoff Avenue Reconstruction Project, estimated to cost about $20 million, was supposed to start during the summer of 2010, but has been pushed back to 2026, according to the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC).
The project would give Wyckoff Avenue new sewer lines, new water mains to replace the 70-year old ones, as well as a new concrete base on the roadway, new sidewalks and new curbing from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue.
The community has been waiting on a similar project in south Middle Village for about two decades. The area from 73rd Place to 80th Street, between Metropolitan Avenue to Cooper Avenue, are due for new sidewalks, sewer lines, new water mains, signage and street lights, estimated to cost about $20 million. The project has a due date of 2022, according to the DDC.
The projects are pushed back because the city keeps putting funding to higher priority initiatives, CB 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri said. But Arcuri said the planned repairs would help boost the community and should be pushed.
“When you rebuild the streets, the property value increases,” Arcuri said. “It becomes an economic boost to the community.”