Apr 30 2014

Newsday “LIRR bridge replacement proposed in Westbury”

The MTA is proposing to build a new bridge over the LIRR tracks at Ellison Avenue in Westbury for $39.2 million. The 1899 bridge was used as part of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race course.

The Newsday story and images of the birdge during the 1908 race are below.


Howard Kroplick

LIRR to demolish 115-year-old bridge in Westbury

Thursday May 1, 2014 8:41 AM By Dan Rivoli

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.



LIRR bridge replacement proposed in Westbury

Originally published: April 28, 2014 4:58 PM
Updated: April 29, 2014 12:04 AM
By SIOBHAN BARTON  [email protected]

Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members are to vote Wednesday on a $39.2 million plan to build a new bridge over the LIRR tracks at Ellison Avenue in Westbury, the agency announced Monday.

The project would replace a deteriorating 115-year-old raised roadway between the Carle Place and Westbury stations, the MTA said in a news release.

"Ellison Avenue is a major north-south thoroughfare through Nassau County. And tens of thousands of vehicles a week utilize that bridge," Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro said.

The proposal is part of a five-year, $211.5 million infrastructure investment to repair the Long Island Rail Road's Main Line Corridor.

The bridge, an overpass for five LIRR branches and almost half of Long Island travelers, would be demolished, redesigned and rebuilt by 2016, MTA Long Island Committee officials said at their meeting Monday in Manhattan.

LIRR officials in late April 2011 committed to starting work to replace the bridge. At that time, the project cost was estimated at $31.6 million.

If approved, the work would include a Project Labor Agreement with local trade unions designed to lower construction costs and promote the use of local unionized labor, officials said in a statement.

The New York State Department of Transportation has expressed concerns about the bridge, which is covered with steel plates.

The village informed the LIRR more than 20 years ago about the need to replace the bridge, Cavallaro said, adding that the project is "a long time coming."

Location of the Ellison Road Bridge on the 1908 course.

1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

In one of the classic Vanderbilt Cup Race moments, all four wheels of the winning #16 Locomobile appeared to be off Ellison Road on top of the bridge. Several people believe that photo was an early "photoshop".

After winning the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, Locomobile promoted the victory in journal ads and a series of 12 postcards including the "flying Old 16". The copy reads: "Robertson in No.16 Locomobile at the Railroad Bridge at Westbury, all four wheels in the air. A unique speed picture from a genuine photograph. Copyright by R.W. Tebbs"

This unique view verifies that at least the two front wheels were off the road.

The rear wheels of Luttgen's Mercedes are seen off the road.

The #12 Thomas hits the bridge and the rear wheels go flying.

Then & Now of the Ellison LIRR Bridge.


May 01 2014 Ted 1:35 AM

It’s amazing how pretty well built these cars were, getting all 4 wheels off the ground and landing safely with no accidents and the car holding up so well

May 01 2014 Greg O. 5:00 PM

Ted- I have to agree with you and have always thought the same thing. The suspension on most brass-era cars always looks extremely delicate, not to mention the fact that most cars had wooden wheels. When you see some of the old films of model T’s going through horrible conditions, deeply rutted mud roads, or even non-existant roads, it’s a wonder the cars don’t just fall apart. In fact, it’s the opposite, they are extremely robust.

May 01 2014 Ted 6:07 PM

Greg- Thanks for that reply, never expected you, a welcomed surpriise

May 03 2014 frank femenias 4:44 AM

Though it was possible to early photoshop the airborne racers, it was also quite possible to send any vehicle airborne on all fours travelling 40mph+ over Vanderbilt’s steep inclines. The motor parkway introduced advanced roadways for safer travel but those ideas were in their infancy that still had rough edges to be sorted out, especially at the bridges. The original rough grade transitions can still be seen today throughout the Queens bikeway in Alley Park.

May 03 2014 Ted 8:46 PM

Frank- Yes, you’re right about the Queens bikeway

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