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Westbury’s Post Avenue Bridge Replaced Ahead of Schedule

New Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury
New Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury

The Long Island Rail Road has successfully replaced the Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury – a span struck by dozens of overheight trucks in recent years resulting in train delays. Work was completed ahead of schedule with the first regularly scheduled train passing over the new bridge at approximately 1:48 a.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017.

The new bridge’s height clearance now allows trucks of up to 14 feet to safely pass underneath, improving LIRR system infrastructure and service reliability. The old bridge -- that hovered over Post Avenue at 11 feet 10 inches -- had been struck by trucks between five and nine times per year in each of the past six years. Train delays in both in both directions would loom as LIRR crews worked to determine its safety and structural stability before restoring train service.

Patrick Nowakowski, President of the LIRR, announced the project’s successful completion at a meeting Monday morning of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board’s Long Island Rail Road Committee.

“The project was one that had to be done in a 52-hour period and I’m happy to report that the project actually finished early, about 1 o’clock in the morning, this morning,” Nowakowski said. “It was a success due to the amount of planning that went into this.”

The completion of the new bridge also marks the first completed initiative related to Third Track since the Main Line Expansion Project was approved in July. The $9.7 million Post Avenue Bridge project, which was executed as a design-build contract, is now 50 feet wide -- 13 feet wider than its predecessor -- a width that allowed for a section of third track to be placed. The $2 billion Third Track project will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, that will allow for added train service, reverse-commutability and delay mitigation.

Crews from Halmar International, Inc. worked around the clock starting Friday, Oct. 20 using a unique construction method with a remote controlled lifting device. That transporter lifted the 103-year-old bridge, which remained intact, after it was cut away from its connection to the abutments, and placed into an adjacent parking lot. Then, the new bridge -- which had been constructed in the adjacent parking lot -- was lifted, in its entirety, and put into place over the roadway. The contractor then had to modify the abutments to support the new bridge height.

To allow for this work, LIRR customers using stations between Mineola and Hicksville were accommodated by buses as the work necessitated a Main Line track outage starting at 11:59 p.m. Friday until the first eastbound train rode through early Monday morning.

Nowakowski thanked the project management team, Halmar International’s team, along with LIRR crews that stepped up to do a substantial amount of work to keep the project within its allotted time frame.

Nowakowski called the project, along the Main Line at a critical location, a “great service improvement for our riders.”