The Verrazzano Bridge will close to traffic for 15-minute intervals overnight beginning this week to accommodate repairs, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Sunday.
The span’s upper and lower levels linking Brooklyn and Staten Island will have the closures about every three weeks, including Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, and the MTA advises motorists to plan for additional travel time and alternative routes during those times.
MTA will work with NYPD to clear the two decks of the bridge, and cars will still be able to cross between the 15-minute closures, according to the Authority.
The stoppages will continue until MTA’s contractor can replace all the bearings on the 1964 bridge which will take several months, officials said.
El Sol Contracting will work to replace the upper-level approaches and anchorage roadway decks as part of a $145 million project to overhaul the 58-year-old connector.
The Queens company got the three-and-a-half-year contract in December 2019 to replace the Verrazzano’s concrete and structural steel.
The scheme will redo the 1960s-era roadway and barriers with more durable concrete and corrosion-resistant reinforcements, which will add 75 years to the bridge’s lifespan, according to MTA.
The contractors will reduce the number of joints to create a smoother ride for drivers and lessen the needed maintenance in the long term.
The revamp also includes new parapets, bearings, drainage, fire standpipe systems, and LED roadway lighting.
MTA said they were able to finish previous parts of the roadway repairs quicker due to lower traffic volumes during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Unlike the MTA’s subways, buses, and commuter railroads, the number of vehicles crossing the agency’s seven bridges and two tunnels in New York City has basically returned to 2019 levels, according to agency counts, after dropping as much as 82% earlier in the pandemic.
The iconic bridge carried 220,000 vehicles a day pre-COVID and is a part of the busy I-278 highway corridor running from New Jersey through all five boroughs and ending in the Bronx.
MTA’s Bridges and Tunnels division also wants to widen the Belt Parkway adjacent to the bridge in southern Brooklyn, saying an auxiliary lane will make a bottleneck exit ramp and merge safer, but critics have denounced that plan as leading to more people driving cars, due to the phenomenon of induced demand where more road space results in more automobile traffic.