4 Month Project Begins February 15th

Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Set for Much Needed Repairs

Updated 26 weeks ago David Stone
Roosevelt Island Bridge provides vehicle access and egress.
Roosevelt Island Bridge provides vehicle access and egress.
Tommy Gao at English Wikipedia, Creative Commons 3.0 License

Nearly 10 years ago, then RIOC President/CEO Steve Shane sat in his small office, explaining how badly the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix needed replacing and how confounding were the challenges. I was researching an article on a recently resurrected theme: our neglected infrastructure. Finally, Susan Rosenthal, third CEO after Shane, has a project ready to go, not to replace the decrepit structure, but to execute major repairs. The work hampers Island access until summer.

As Shane explained it, reconstruction of the helix is bedeviled by the puzzle of letting traffic continue to flow after the helix is ripped down. Construction of PS/IS 217 began long after the curling structure was built, without adequate consideration of future needs.

Ideally, vehicles would roll down a ramp that ended somewhere near where the school's first floor welcomes children into classes.

With no reasonable alternative, RIOC opts for major repairs instead of a full replacement.

"The deteriorating 40-year-old structure, a high-traffic spiral road which connects the Island to the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Queens, handles all incoming and outgoing car, truck and school bus traffic. As to be expected, the repair will slow traffic pace as vehicles will be restricted to one lane of use while the adjacent lane is repaired," read RIOC's press release.

The project "...includes waterproofing, concrete patch infill, rebar splicing, road resurfacing and railing replacements."

RIOC estimates "120 days of construction," which takes us into June. In that time, if you need to use the helix, prepare for major delays, especially during high use periods.

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