Tully Construction Company in a joint venture with Posillico Civil began work in 2009 on the demolition and reconstruction of three bridges on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, New York – Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway, and, Fresh Creek; the work zone would be 2.5 miles in length.
During the past 60 years the traffic demands along the Belt Parkway corridor has increased dramatically. The opening of Idelwild Airport in 1948 [now known as John F. Kennedy International Airport], the development of suburban Long Island post World War II, and the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964 have dramatically increased the demand on the roadway and its bridges. When the parkway was first opened the two-way average daily traffic was about 20,000 vehicles. Today, it is approximately 150,000 vehicles per day.
Paerdegat Basin Bridge
The former bridge consisted of 12 cast-in-place concrete column bents. At the navigation channel which passed under the bridge, one concrete column had been damaged. Because of this damage and other structural concerns, the Paerdegat Basin Bridge was under continuous monitoring since September of 2004.
The existing 13 span bridge and approach roadways was completely demolished and replaced by two new bridges and new approach roadways on split alignments.
The southern structure carries eastbound traffic while the northern structure accommodates westbound traffic. Both the horizontal and vertical alignments changed, resulting in improved sight distances on the bridges and roadways. The bridge carrying eastbound traffic also has a dedicated pedestrian/bicycle path along the south side, separated from traffic lanes by a concrete barrier on the bridge and by a steel-backed timber guide rail on the approaches.
Rockaway Parkway Bridge
The former Fresh Creek Basin Bridge consisted of five steel spans over Fresh Creek Basin with a 21-foot clearance over mean high water. There were four support piers in the channel. This structure was replaced with a new three span structure.
The new structure consists of three spans of approximately 100 feet each and requires only two support piers, resulting in a wider channel.
The new construction resulted in improved landscaping on the bridge approaches. The bridge deck and the approaches were widened to three 12-foot lanes in each direction, 12 foot wide shoulders and a 12 foot wide bike path. The pedestrian and bicycle pathway was maintained at all times during construction.
Rockaway Parkway Bridge
The former Belt Parkway Bridge over Rockaway Parkway was built circa 1940. It was a four span steel superstructure with Rockaway Parkway traffic under the two center spans. The new bridge and the approach roadways was constructed in five stages, while maintaining three traffic lanes in each direction during peak hours during construction.
The existing structure was replaced with a single span structure with improved visibility along Rockaway Parkway. The width of the new structure exceeded that of the former bridge so as to provide wider lanes and a safety shoulder. In addition to reconstruction of the bridge, four access ramps were also reconstructed as will the reconstruction of Rockaway Parkway in the vicinity of the Belt Parkway.