Home > New York City Transit > TransitTrax

Long Island Rail Road Bridge Replacement

Mark Groce: I'm Mark Groce, and you're listening to an “Improving, non-stop” podcast on TransitTrax, New York City Transit's podcast service.

After 90 years of service, the MTA, in an effort to “Improve, non-stop,” has replaced the Hog Island Channel and the Powell Creek Bridges.  Two well-used bridges along the Long Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, having reached the end of their useful life, the old timber and steel has been replaced by concrete bridges that will make the ride much safer and less costly.

Over several weekends, the old bridges were lifted out and taken away on barges.  The new concrete bridge was then lifted by crane and put into place.  Bud Merola is the head of Program Management at the Long Island Rail Road.

Bud Merola: It was a significant task, and getting the old one off and putting the new one on, because it was all done in the same weekend.  Our own Track Department came in and did a magnificent job, and resurfacing the track and getting it back up to its proper elevation, and we were able to turn the track over by midnight before the morning rush. 

We certainly want to do this so that we don’t have to take the bridges out of service for any type of maintenance, so by replacing them with new structures, new solid steel and concrete structures, we minimize that by a great deal, that’s a great improvement.  That‘s a real improvement in reliability of the line, and the overall confidence that our customers will have that they’ll get to work on time.

Mark Groce: The Powell Creek Bridge actually had to be built a foot higher than the old bridge.  Whenever there was a storm, the water under the bridge would rise to touch the third rail, which would actually delay or stop service all together.  Janie Chen is the project manager.

Janie Chen: There were occasions that actually stopped the train service or delayed the train service.  So on both sides of the bridge, that’s actually a higher retaining wall, so the water, compared to open that bridge, it would not get to our bridge easy. 

Mark Groce: Here at Powell Creek, it may be a small bridge, but for the Long Island Rail Road, it represents a big improvement, because the MTA is improving, non-stop.  For TransitTrax I'm Mark Groce, thanks for listening and thanks for riding with New York City Transit.