Brooklyn Bridge Work Update

Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 09:58 AM

We went out on the Brooklyn Bridge last week to check the progress of the work.

The canvas containment shields are going up, and the pedestrian/bike walkway has been narrowed by a foot and half to accommodate their installation. The shields will provide a negative air flow environment for workers to scrape off the old leaded paint. As work progresses the units will move across the bridge until the project is complete.

The New York City Department of Transportation website reminds bikers that "cyclists must yield to pedestrians in this restricted work zone. Cyclists may also use the nearby Manhattan Bridge bike path, which is separated from the pedestrian path and often less congested."

We caught up with Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan earlier this week at the opening of the Union Square pedestrian plaza. "The Brooklyn Bridge work is going fine," she said.  "I think we've got about a hundred hard hats on the site right now. So far so good." 

As ever, getting an actual head count of the numbers of workers has proven to be challenging. NYCStat reports that the bridge work has created 1.26 jobs of June 30.  This is in increase over the .13 reported as of the previous quarter, but doesn't jibe with the number of workers that the commissioner mentions. The DOT press office couldn't offer an explanation for the discrepancy.

The total job is budgeted to cost $508 million.  The New York City Comptroller's Checkbook NYC reports that the city has paid contractor Skanska Koch $26,501,924.74 so far this year for the work.

But getting back to the containment shielding, which is the most visually apparent part of the work (the ongoing lane closures perhaps being the most inconvenient.)  It occurred to us that the galvanized steel shield that lines the walkway might make a good location for a public art project.  We put this question to Janette Sadik-Khan this week at the opening of the Union Square pedestrian plaza, and got a (skeptical) laugh out of her. "Maybe," she said.  "We're really focusing on getting the fundamentals down here."  (The fundaments mean restoring the bridge to a state of good repair.)

The Brooklyn Heights Blog posted yesterday that canvas shields won't be the only interesting thing that you see on your walk across the bridge. "During the month of October, you may see technicians suspended on ropes along the sides of the Bridge’s towers. They will be inspecting the condition of the stones and mortar joints. This work will be done between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday."

Sadik-Khan said the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation work was on budget and on schedule.

Cars heading to Brooklyn, surrounded by the confinement wall
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Cars on the Brooklyn Bridge, surrounded by the containment shield

Canvas covering on the Brooklyn Bridge
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Canvas covering on the Brooklyn Bridge

The pedestrian walkway is more crowded, now that it has lost over a foot of space with the confinement wall.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The pedestrian walkway is more crowded, now that it has lost over a foot of space with the confinement wall.

Flexible, plastic reflectors have been installed on the walkway.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Flexible, plastic reflectors have been installed on the walkway.

More in:

Comments [2]

CW Glaeser from Brooklyn Bridge Project


its been a year since you, Richard and I inspected the bridge in its pre-construction phase. We primarily discussed what one would expect to see during the staging and storage by the contractor in terms of the protection and preservation of the publicly owned trees inhabiting the public space around the bridge footing. Any idea how that component of the project is fairing. Although Com. Khan stated that the bridge repair is moving along well, 'am curious just how the new "green and sustainable" NYCDOT treats the public trees amid construction- especially with all that tax payer stimulus money.

Jun. 20 2011 03:43 PM
scott from bed-stuy

as if that bike lane wasn't narrow enough to begin with. people are gonna get run over...

Sep. 23 2010 06:00 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About The Brooklyn Bridge Project

A massive renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge is underway.  Completing it will take at least four years, $508 million, and hundreds of workers; watching how the work progresses and the money is spent takes YOUShare your Brooklyn Bridge story by calling (646) 450-1883 or email us at


Supported by