Fixing the sidewalk on Barstow Road bridge in Great Neck above the train station started at the beginning of July and was expected to be completed by July 31, but due to the discovery of holes in the bridge and added work to remedy it, the project continued until Aug. 25.
The MTA confirmed in an email to Blank Slate Media that as of 1 p.m. on Friday, the “work was completed and the road has reopened.”
The project to reconstruct the sidewalks on the east and west side of the Barstow Road bridge was initiated at the end of July. Last year the Village of Great Neck Plaza fixed the roadway over the bridge.
“This year as we began the project it was discovered by our engineer and the contractor that there were certain holes in the bridge deck which had to be repaired under the sidewalk in a couple of different spaces,” Great Neck Plaza Mayor Ted Rosen said, “And these holes had to be repaired from underneath, which was not part of the original plan.”
Technically, Rosen said the village is only responsible for the upkeep above the bridge and the LIRR underneath. To do the work under the bridge, workers had to go on the tracks, which is only allowed by those certified by the LIRR. Another challenge faced by crews was the periods of time that workers could repair the bridge, which was limited to two time slots on Saturday and Sunday morning from 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. when trains would not interfere.
“Our contractor had to initially develop a plan for setting up scaffolding under the bridge and dismantling the scaffolding and then doing the work in basically a 3 1/2hour window,” Rosen said, “a logistical challenge.”
All the work had to be completed sequentially, but this was disrupted when crews faced rain. This posed another significant issue since the grout used to fix the holes needs to dry completely to be able to cure. Not only was the grout halted but later the use of a sealant also had to be rescheduled because it had rained the night before.
“We had a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks, especially at times overnight and that set us back. So, the ground had to dry, and we had to come back several days later,” Rosen said. “So there were days when people, the contractor was not working, not because they weren’t ready and wanting to work, but because they weren’t able to do it because of the conditions.”
Understanding the frustration of residents who had to alter their paths, Rosen said: “The last thing that we wanted to do, and that we want to do, is inconvenience anyone, our residents and all of the people in the Great Neck area, and anyone else that travels or walks over that bridge.”
He went on to say that “my responsibility is to do things in the safest possible way and that’s remains the No. 1 responsibility.”