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Great Neck bridge, LIRR track extension clear MTA panel

A key MTA committee Monday approved a $24.9 million plan to replace a 115-year-old bridge near Great Neck and extend a track used to store Long Island Rail Road trains there.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Long Island Rail Road Committee Monday voted in favor of the contract, which will go before the full Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board for final approval Wednesday.

The plan calls for the reconstruction of the Colonial Road Bridge in the Village of Thomaston, about a half-mile east of Great Neck Station. The bridge, which carries vehicles over the LIRR's tracks, was built in 1897 and is considered "functionally obsolete" by the state Department of Transportation. The LIRR has said it has reached "the end of its useful life."

The new bridge will include wider lanes and an improved pedestrian sidewalk, the LIRR said.

The contract, awarded to Railroad Construction Co. Inc. of Paterson, New Jersey, also includes the extension of an existing pocket track by 12 train-car lengths. The bigger track will allow the LIRR to store and turn around more trains on the Port Washington line in time for the completion of East Side Access, which aims to link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal by 2022.

"These infrastructure improvements will enable the LIRR to provide safe and reliable service on the Port Washington Branch for many years to come and give us the operational flexibility to provide better train service, especially when the East Side Access project is complete," said LIRR president Patrick A. Nowakowski.

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