The $508 million project to repaint and rehabilitate the Brooklyn Bridge is officially under way, marked by a ceremony featuring Vice President Joe Biden and other federal, state and city luminaries.
Biden joined workers, New York Mayor Bloomberg and other political leaders on Wednesday, June 2, to kick off the project, which will include $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) funding.
The four-year initiative will cap a $5 billion-plus renovation investment in New York’s bridges since 2002, Bloomberg said.
“While too often we have seen a lack of investment in infrastructure, our administration has made it a top priority,” Bloomberg said at the ceremony, held at a worksite adjacent to the bridge in Lower Manhattan.
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Division of Bridges will conduct the work, which includes protective-coating operations on the entire bridge structure to prevent steel corrosion and improve aesthetics.
The existing protective coating will be cleaned and/or removed through abrasive blasting. The replacement system, an epoxy zinc, will be applied to all steel superstructures, NYC DOT said.
Equipment will be placed on barges anchored to the Manhattan tower and on land abutting the Brooklyn tower. Dust-collection, vacuum, and abrasive-recycling units will be employed to minimize environmental risks, and an environmental consulting firm will conduct continuous air monitoring, officials said.
Because the existing coating is expected to contain lead, the work will be performed within an entirely sealed Class 1A containment unit, NYC DOT said. All operations will follow the guidelines of a half-dozen federal, state and city health, environmental-protection, and health and safety agencies.
Like all New York construction activities, the project will also be bound by the city’s Noise Code standards, adopted in 2007.
The bridge will be restored to its original color, Brooklyn Bridge Tan, as specified by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The painting phase is expected to take two years, with most of the work completed at night.
The rest of the project will involve replacing bridge decks on the ramp and approach structures and expanding the numbers of lanes on ramps.
The Division of Bridges was given notice to proceed in January, and staging and other preparatory work are under way, with pilings for the expanded ramps already being installed. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2014. The last major rehabilitation of the main part of the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 2000.
In addition to the ARRA funding, the project will be financed by $286 million in New York City capital funds and $192 million in other federal funding.
The Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it opened in 1883. The iconic East River crossing is one of three DOT bridges in the New York City area rated "poor" in a 2007 state inspection. The rating means components of the bridge—ramps, approaches, and decking—are in need of rehabilitation.
Today, more than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 2,600 bicyclists cross the bridge every day.
For more information, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bridges/brooklyn_bridge.shtml#inform.