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LIRR service disruptions this weekend due to bridge construction

Commuters wait at the LIRR station as construction

Commuters wait at the LIRR station as construction begins at the New Hyde Park crossing on Nov. 7. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Travelers on the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line will experience some major disruptions this weekend as the LIRR takes another major step in its effort to construct a Third Track through Nassau County.

LIRR service will be suspended between New Hyde Park and Hicksville throughout the weekend as crews install a new 75-foot rail bridge that will replace the existing grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road in New Hyde Park.

The bridge project, and other construction taking place over the weekend, will cause service changes on multiple lines, including the Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches. Customers are advised to visit www.mta.info/lirr for details.

Beginning in February, crews excavated land next to the grade crossing and built the bridge inside a massive crater. Over the weekend, the existing tracks will be removed and dug up, and workers — using numerous hydraulic jacks — will, inch-by-inch, push the new bridge into place, and restore the tracks in time for the Monday morning rush hour, LIRR officials said.

The grade crossing is one of eight being eliminated as part of the $2.6 billion LIRR Expansion project, which aims to build a 10-mile long Third Track between Floral Park and Hicksville by the end of 2022. Project officials say eliminating the crossing will reduce automobile traffic, air and sound pollution, and accidents caused by pedestrians and vehicles getting hit by trains.

Janno Lieber, chief development officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — the LIRR’s parent organization — called the New Hyde Park Road project “the mother of all under-grade crossing” projects, in part because of its size. The new bridge will span over four lanes of traffic, and a turning lane. The new road configuration is scheduled to open this fall.

“Part of the culture of the project is that we get these things done exactly the weekend we said we’re going to, and we deliver the railroad back a finished railroad for the rush hour,” Lieber said. “And we’re doing it all on time and on budget — and it’s during the pandemic. We’re very proud of that aspect of things.”

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