The MTA Wednesday approved the construction of a new $39.2 million bridge over Long Island Rail Road tracks in Westbury.
The project will replace a deteriorating roadway bridge at Ellison Avenue between the Carle Place and Westbury stations that is at the end of its useful life.
The LIRR can now solicit a contractor to demolish the 115-year-old bridge and design and build a new span by 2016. The replacement is part of a five-year, $211.5 million infrastructure improvement plan for the LIRR’s Main Line Corridor.
“It’s a long time coming. Our residents are very anxious to have this bridge replaced,” Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro told the MTA board on Monday. “There are questions constantly about the safety of the bridge, even though we assure them of the structural integrity.”
He said tens of thousands of vehicles a week pass over the major north-south thoroughfare, which is mostly covered with steel plates instead of pavement.
The bridge is also the place where five LIRR line branches converge each day, carrying 40 percent of the railroad’s daily ridership, according to the MTA.
There will be a project labor agreement for this bridge replacement aimed at lowering construction costs and using local union labor.
Former Westbury Mayor Ernest Strada said the bridge’s condition -- and which government body had the responsibility to fix it -- was an issue before he started his 28-year tenure at the village.
“That bridge was always a problem,” he said to the MTA board.