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WNYC News

Queens Lawmakers Push Back Against Bridge Toll Proposal

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Assemblyman David Weprin and State Senator Tony Avella want to head off at the pass a proposal to make drivers pay for the Queensborough, Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges.

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WNYC News

New Report Calls for Overhaul of Toll System

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A transportation advocacy group says the city needs to overhaul its current system for tolling bridges.

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Storycorps

StoryCorps 406: The Bridge

Friday, December 19, 2014

Writer Gay Talese interviews Bob Walsh, one of the ironworkers who built the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the country.

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Transportation Nation

City Aims to Boost Bridge Safety for Cyclists

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Department of Transportation plans to focus on the 16 bridges connecting Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
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WNYC News

Taking A Tour of The 10 Oldest Bridges in New Jersey

Monday, September 08, 2014

NJ Spotlight
New Jersey has exactly 100 bridges built before 1900. And if you're willing to put up with a little traffic, you can drive over one bridge that's more than 200 years old.

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Transportation Nation

No Driving Across SF Bay, as Old Bridge Closes To Make Way for New

Thursday, August 29, 2013

KALW

At 8 p.m. last night, the last car drove across the original eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. If everything goes according to schedule, the new, blinding white span will open to the public on Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. Pacific Time. 

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Transportation Nation

A "Quick Fix" Could Open the SF Bay Bridge on Labor Day

Monday, July 22, 2013

KALW

After all that, the San Francisco Bay Bridge could open on Labor Day. That’s if a new solution—being called the “quick fix”—is approved to temporarily stabilize the structure’s broken bolts.

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Transportation Nation

Ed Rendell on The State of U.S. Infrastructure 80 Years After the P.W.A.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The Hechinger Report

The Lincoln Tunnel and Triborough Bridge in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, and the Overseas Highway connecting Key West to mainland Florida are all products of the New Deal’s Public Works Administration, which went into effect 80 years ago today. The Takeaway spoke with Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania and the founder and co-chair of Building America’s Future

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The Takeaway

The State of U.S. Infrastructure 80 Years After the Public Works Administration

Monday, July 08, 2013

The Public Works Administrations was the driving force of America’s biggest construction effort to that date. 80 years later, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the United States a D+ grade on infrastructure and 1 in 9 bridges are structurally deficient. Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania and the founder and co-chair of Building America’s Future, which advocates for infrastructure spending. He believes that the United States has delayed investing in infrastructure long enough.

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Transportation Nation

Fewer U.S. Bridges Being Repaired, One in Nine Still "Structurally Deficient"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WNYC

There are 66,405 "structurally deficient" bridges in the U.S., about one in every nine, according to a new study from Transportation 4 America. That's down from just shy of 70,000 two years ago, but the pace of repair is slowing and many more bridges are reaching the end of their intended 50-year lifespan. Recent funding changes in Congress are exacerbating maintenance problems, T4A concludes.

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Transportation Nation

SLIDESHOW: Baby Falcons Nest High Above New York City

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

360-degree panoramic views, no board approval, occasional visits from the landlord: dozens of peregrine falcon chicks are living the high life in New York City.

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Transportation Nation

NY MTA Raises Fares For Fourth Time In Five Years -- What You Need to Know

Friday, March 01, 2013

New York area transit riders will now pay more.

(New York, NY - WNYC) It happens at the stroke of midnight on Saturday: fares go up for riders of subways, buses and express buses in and around New York City, and for drivers who use the NY Metropolitan Authority's eight bridges and tunnels. Fares also jumped for riders of the authority's commuter trains.

It's the fourth time in five years that the MTA has raised fares. The base fare will rise from $2.25 to $2.50, and the pay-per-ride bonus drops from 7 to 5 percent, but kicks in after five dollars instead of the previous ten dollars.

The weekly unlimited ride card goes from $29 to $30, and a monthly pass jumps from $104 to $112.

Riders will also be charged a dollar fee to replace a Metrocard, except if it's damaged or expired. Metrocards can now be refilled again and again with time, dollar value, or both. That means riders can add days to an unlimited card and use the cash on that card to connect to an express bus, the PATH Train or the AirTrain, something that was not possible before.

Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth riders are also feeling the pinch. The NY MTA says most ticket prices are going up about 8 or 9 percent.

Carol Kharivala, of New Hyde Park, said she only travels to Manhattan once or twice a month. Her senior round-trip ticket went from $10 to $11. Kharivala, who is retired, said the increase won't effect her travel plans, but that the hikes are likely more difficult for daily commuters.

"It does make it more difficult for people that are working because the money they put in the bank is not earning very high interest, and their salaries are not going up, either," she said.

Daily commuter Anthony Fama, also from New Hyde Park, agreed. His monthly fare jumped about $20. "I saw the rate went, if I remember the numbers correctly, from $223 to $242, which is, I guess a little bit more than 8 percent," he said. "Last time I checked, cost of living increase was a lot less than that."

Fama also thinks the hikes are unfair for commuters who don't have any other options. "To take multiple subways or buses, express buses, wouldn't make sense for somebody who puts in more than an eight hour day," he said.

The fare hikes have some commuters thinking about other options.

Chris Barbaria commutes from Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, to a carpentry job in Babylon, on Long Island, once a week. He said he's now considering biking the distance, even though the ride would take more than two hours.

"I carry tools and stuff, so it's a long haul, it's about 40 miles out there," he said. "I would certainly ride out, it's just going to add to my commute." Barbaria also said he's surprised by the cost of monthly tickets.

"When I was a kid I used to go to school in the city, and my round-trip monthly was $74 from Lynbrook," he said. "I understand now it's over $250 from Lynbrook, which is insane to me."

--with Annmarie Fertoli

 

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The Takeaway

America's Infrastructure Crisis

Thursday, January 03, 2013

One in eight bridges in the United States have been categorized as structurally deficient and many more are reaching the end of their lives. Attorney and author Barry LePatner tells us what can be done about America's infrastructure problem. Where will the money come from in an era of tightening budgets and is there enough political will to prevent the country's infrastructure from falling farther behind? Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter for OPB News.

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Transportation Nation

PICS: Largest Truss Bridge Ever Moved into Place Fully Assembled

Monday, August 27, 2012

A nearly 400-foot-long, 4.3-million-pound railroad truss bridge was rolled into place over Torrence Avenue near 130th Street in Chicago over the weekend. It is believed to be the largest truss bridge ever to be moved into the place after being assembled off site. (CDOT)

We like to keep our eye on bridges here at TN. Especially new bridges and new techniques for building them. That could be anything from new ways to finance megaprojects, the politics behind tolling, or engineering feats like floating a bridge down a river and hoisting it in place.

Building a bridge offsite and transporting it to it's final location saves money when it is possible. Similar construction techniques are credited with completing the Lake Champlain, NY bridge ahead of schedule (see video.) This weekend we got word of a mini-milestone in that trend.

On Saturday, Chicago says the city in partnership with the state and several railways, installed the largest truss bridge ever built off site and moved into place fully assembled. A truss bridge is what most people think of as the classic railroad bridge, it looks like a steel cage over the roadway forming box or triangle shapes on the sides for support.

Here are a few shots courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the press release with background on the project below.

Four Self-Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) relocated the fully assembled 4.3 million pound, 394-foot-long, 67- foot-high truss bridge from its assembly site to its final position on the new bridge piers a few hundred feet away. (CDOT)

 

400-FOOT RAILROAD BRIDGE ROLLED INTO PLACE ACROSS TORRENCE AVENUE

Believed to be Largest Truss Bridge Ever Moved into Place after Assembly

A nearly 400-foot-long, 4.3-million-pound railroad truss bridge was rolled into place

A nearly 400-foot-long, 4.3-million-pound railroad truss bridge was rolled into place over Torrence Avenue near 130th Street today, and is believed to be the largest truss bridge ever to be moved into the place after being assembled off site.

The new bridge for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend commuter rail line is a key project in the $101 million reconfiguration and grade separation of the intersection of 130th Street and Torrence Avenue, which part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago infrastructure program.

It is also a part of the CREATE project – a partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation, the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation's freight railroads – to invest billions in critically needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region's passenger and freight rail infrastructure.

“The moving of this new truss bridge is an incredible feat of construction and engineering,” said Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe Klein. “It also demonstrates the strength of the CREATE partnership between government, the railroads and other stakeholders to bring complicated projects like these to fruition to improve the quality of life for Chicago-area communities.”

The goal of the 130th and Torrence grade separation project is to eliminate the two at-grade crossings of the Norfolk Southern tracks with the two roadways to improve the traffic flow of all modes of transport at this complicated intersection.

The project will include the lowering of both roads to fit under the new bridges to be built for the Norfolk Southern freight tracks. The new truss bridge, put in place today, goes overthe freight tracks. The entire intersection reconstruction project includes: six new bridges (railroad, roadway, and pedestrian/bicyclists bridges); a mixed-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists; retaining walls; drainage system; street lighting; traffic signals; roadway pavement and extensive landscaping.

Today, the project General Contractor, Walsh Construction, used four Self-Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to relocate the fully assembled 4.3 million pound, 394-foot-long, 67- foot-high truss bridge from its assembly site to its final position on the new bridge piers a few hundred feet away. It is believed to be the largest truss bridge ever assembled then moved.

A truss bridge is one whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, which is a structure of connected elements forming triangular units.

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WNYC News

Construction to Cause Traffic Snarls on GWB

Friday, July 13, 2012

Driving into New York will be getting a little tougher. A three-month construction project is expected to create major backups for New Jersey drivers crossing the George Washington Bridge.

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Transportation Nation

VIDEO: Atop NYC Bridges, Baby Falcons Thrive in Homes with Great Views

Monday, June 04, 2012

(New York, NY - WNYC) Peregrines prefer peaks. In New York City, that means the flat tops of tall  bridges. Once again, it's time to cinch up the safety harness, scale a few feats of infrastructure and count hatchlings.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority, always casting about for ways to improve its perennially embattled image, has in recent years embraced and promoted its role as Haven of Hatcheries. The authority has allowed the city Department of Protection to build shelters for raptors atop its bridges, and to let city conservationists go into them once a year and band the newborn birds they find. The shelters are no-frills affairs with guano-speckled roofs. And the banding, according to Chris Nadareski, the conservationist in the video, doesn't hurt the birds--though it must be said, those chicks don't seem pleased.

This year's total of newborn falcons on three bridges operated by the MTA: seven. Their wide-eyed adorableness on a scale of 1 to 10: 10. Interesting stat: when diving for prey, peregrines can exceed 200 miles per hour, making them the fastest birds in the world. It also puts them in sync with the city's unofficial motto: "Move swiftly or starve. "

New York City is home to more than 20 pairs of peregrine falcons. Two of the newest ones are called Lief and Skye, which are names you can soon expect to be attached to Brooklyn tots. The birds were nearly wiped out in the 1960s because of pesticides and remain on the New York State endangered list. But, thanks in part to the MTA's hospitality, it is increasingly common to see a raptor in search of a fish wheeling in the sky above the harbor. Hence the video's closing invitation+ warning:

"Look for the peregrine falcons...but not while you're driving."

Video:

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Transportation Nation

Even in Austere Era, Mitt Romney Promises To Fund Roads, Bridges, and Rail (FULL AUDIO)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mitt Romney in Hudson, New Hampshire (photo: WNYC/Anna Sale)

Mitt Romney says he doesn't like borrowing, but he'd do it for infrastructure. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Hudson, New Hampshire this week, Romney said: "You have to prioritize those things which are most important to you and infrastructure and having good roads and bridges and rail lines and air traffic lines and so forth are essential for a strong economy. I’m willing to invest in those things and even borrow in circumstances where there’s going to be a revenue stream that pays it back."  (Full transcript at end of post.)

Answering a question from voter "Ken from Nashua," the former Massachusetts Governor touted his record doubling spending in that state for bridge repair from $100 million a year to $200 million a year.

"I don't like borrowing, if it's just paying every day's expenses and then kicking on the borrowing to our kids. But if I'm willing to pay it back with a particular stream of revenue, why, that's something I'll do."

Romney mentioned tolls as one possible revenue stream. "I know that's not real popular but it's more popular than a sales tax or an income tax."

The remarks are consistent with the portrait Matt Dellinger drew of Romney earlier this week, in his piece: Mitt Romney: Metro-Friendly Moderate?

Huge thanks to reporter Anna Sale of our sister site, It'sAFreeCountry.org, for passing along the tape.

You can listen to the full remarks here:

Ken from Nashua: Through my work, I travel the U.S. roads highways and bridges and they are definitely in need of attention. However, the country has staggering debt and we need to reduce spending and make that a major priority.

As president, if you are faced with fixing a problem by spending on one hand and spending reduction on the other, how will you address our nation’s infrastructure?

Romney: Well let’s look at the highway setting to begin with. I’ll tell you what we did. When I came in as the governor of my state, I found out that we had 550 structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts.  If any of you drive down there, I’ll give you a list.

The good news is they weren’t’ ready to fall down but I knew that at some point the bridges would have a load limit changed where trucks with a heavy load limit wouldn’t be able to go over them and that would affect our commerce and could affect jobs.

And so I said look we got to go from spending what we had been spending, $100 million a year on bridge repair and move it to $200 million a year.

One of the things you have to do is prioritize those things which are most important to you and infrastructure and having good roads and bridges and rail lines and so forth and air traffic lines are essential for a strong economy. I’m willing to invest in those things and even borrow in circumstances where there’s going to be a revenue stream that pays it back

I don’t like borrowing, if its just paying every day expenses and then kicking on the borrowing to our kids here but if I’m willing to pay back with a particular stream of revenue why, that’s something I’ll do.

Here in New Hampshire you have tolls and I know that’s not real popular -- but more popular than a sales tax than an income taxi and so you have a dedicated stream of revenue, and so the state is able to build a highway or to repair bridges and the revenue stream you have pays it back

With regards to the the federal highway system we’re going to have to follow the same model.

We’re going to have to make an investment, to repair our bridges, repair our roads and have a specific dedicated revenue stream paying back those costs.

We can’t have a highway system that makes it almost impossible for our commerce to occur on an effective basis.   There are lots of idea about how to do that -- do we have a bonding program of some kind that pays back, do we use tolls do we use some other method? I will be open to the kinds of ideas that come forward. But I believe we do have to invest in our basic infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

WEEKEND PHOTOS: 75 Years Ago, the Henry Hudson Bridge Under Construction

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Henry Hudson Bridge under construction in 1936. (Courtesy NY MTA)

New York City's Henry Hudson Bridge turns 75 on Monday. Here's a look back at it's construction in 1936. The bridge spans the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and connects Manhattan with the Bronx. When it opened in December of 1936 it was the world’s longest plate-girder, fixed arch bridge at 800 feet.

In this photo, looking south from the Bronx, you can see the New Jersey palisades on the far side of the Hudson river, and the grade-level railroad bridge that belonged to Grand Central Railroad at the time, now operated by Amtrak.

The Henry Hudson Bridge under construction. (Photographer: Richard Averill Smith, June 19, 1936.)

“The Henry Hudson was originally designed for leisurely weekend drives but through the decades has evolved into a vital transportation connection in the tri-state region, linking New York City and the northern suburbs,” said the N.Y. Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Jim Ferrara.

Now, the bridge is the site of a high-tech pilot program to experiment with all-electronic tolling. In spring 2012, cash will be entirely eliminated from the toll plaza, and the bridge will become one of the first urban all-electronic tolling, a.k.a. cashless bridges in the nation. (More details on that here).

The Riverdale Public Library in the Bronx is hosting a month long photo exhibit about the bridge opening Monday.

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Transportation Nation

New Lake Champlain Bridge Opens Years Ahead of Schedule

Monday, November 07, 2011

The New Lake Champlain Bridge (Photo (cc) by Flickr user Nicholas Erwin)

Crown Point, New York is once again connected to Addison, Vermont. It's been two years since a trip between the two towns on either side of Lake Champlain leapt from a few-minutes drive to a few hours. In October 2009, inspectors from the New York State department of transportation declared the old Lake Champlain Bridge unsafe and shut the span immediately. The 3,000 or so drivers who crossed the bridge daily were forced to make a long loop around the lake. Eventually a free ferry service was offered. The closure shocked local residents and cast doubt on the states' ability to manage aging infrastructure. The completion of the new bridge, the Governors of both states hope, removes those doubts.

"When the bridge was closed and demolished in 2009, it was estimated to take eight years to rebuild," N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement today. "I am pleased to announce that thanks to the hard work and dedication of our federal, state, and local partners, the bridge is opening far earlier than planned."

(Collin Campbell)

The old bridge, built in 1929, was scheduled for replacement in 2012 anyway, but state agencies were caught off guard by the 2009 diagnosis and the suddenness of the closure made replacement a higher priority. Residents and local business activity was curtailed by the lack of a convenient detour. Local dairy farmer Tim Kayhart saw his frequent business trips to a partner farm across the lake go from four miles each way, to 150. Ferry service helped, but was no substitute for certain types of trips.

The old bridge was demolished in December 2009 (see our past reporting on that here). The $76 million construction of the new span started in June of 2010.

"It's a critical link for west-central Vermont and New York State, and vital to Vermont's economic strength, as well as for the people who rely upon that bridge for work and recreation. The structure that is opening today recreates the iconic previous Champlain Bridge, and I'm enormously proud of the design and the execution of this state-of-the-art engineering accomplishment," said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin who attended a ribbon cutting today along with NY Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.

Local sign at the Chimney Point State Historic Site, shared on the Bridge's Facebook page.

According to government officials, the new network tied arch bridge is a steel structure with a projected 75-year service life. Certain components of the bridge are designed to be replaceable, which reduces maintenance costs.

One reason the construction was faster than predicted was the location of construction, on land. The central arch was built in nearby Port Henry, N.Y. Then the eight-story, 402-foot long, 1.8 million pound structure was floated down the lake and lifted into place. Watch a time lapse video of the August arch lifting below.

NY Gov. Cuomo's office says the lanes and shoulders are wider than average to accomodate farm vehicles and bicycles. There are pedestrian sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.

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The Takeaway

Obama Continues to Push Infrastructure Bill

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Senate is set to vote on a new part of President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill which includes funding for programs to help build roads, bridges and other public works programs. The bill is likely to fail, but that has not stopped the president from continuing to campaign for its passage. Andrea Bernstein, director of the Transportation Nation project and senior correspondent for WNYC, looks at why President Obama continues to push for infrastructure despite it looking like a losing cause.

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