Denton Avenue bridge repairs set to move into next phase of work

Denton Avenue bridge repairs set to move into next phase of work
Work has begun on the reconstruction of the Denton Avenue Bridge following months of delays. (Photo courtesy of The LIRR Expansion Project Team)

A month after a delayed start to replacing the Denton Avenue bridge in Garden City, the Long Island Rail Road’s Expansion Project plans to install a substructure for the bridge this month in an attempt to meet a December target completion date.

After months of litigation between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Village of Garden City, the project remains roughly 11 months behind schedule and is at risk to exceed its budget and not meet the December deadline. Despite the delays, officials from the third track project indicated work on the bridge has been going well since starting in January, with the installation of a substructure – vital for weight distribution of a bridge – being installed this month.

As part of a $2.6 billion Long Island Rail Road project, the Denton Avenue bridge is to be removed and replaced to accommodate a third track being added to the Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville. The agency said in the initial lawsuit that it is critical to the project because widening the bridge would allow for the extra train track. 

The delays on its repairs dated to July, when MTA officials said the organization had not received permits to commence work on the bridge from the Village of Garden City.

MTA officials also pointed to a lawsuit the village filed earlier accusing the state-run transit agency of being deceptive when it installed steel utility poles that extend 93 feet above the ground and stand over neighborhoods. In July, state Supreme Court Justice Diccia Pineda-Kirwan dismissed the case.

In regards to the permits, according to court documents, MTA officials claimed the village purposefully withheld providing the permits to the state-run agency because its lawsuit was dismissed. Garden City officials claimed the MTA failed to follow the appropriate procedure in the application process for the permits.

In December, state Supreme Court Justice Helen Voutsinas ordered the village to process and approve permits to commence the bridge repairs. After appealing unsuccessfully, the village refused to issue the permits, which led to the Long Island Rail Road asking the village to be held in contempt.

The MTA said it was seeking a daily fine of at least $50,000 until the village complied. 

On Dec. 31, the village issued the necessary permits to the transit authority, with MTA officials withdrawing their motion to hold the village in contempt.

Efforts to reach village officials for comment were unavailing.

The LIRR Expansion Project is contractually mandated to be finished in 2022, and delays would increase costs. The agency is trying to complete bridge work in four months, as opposed to six, to meet the end of April deadline that keeps the entire project on schedule. 

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