New South Tyson Ave. bridge rolls into town

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MTA employees worked all weekend to get the bridge installation done by an early morning deadline on Aug. 19. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The work on the South Tyson Avenue bridge is complete. Over the weekend, the project’s construction teams lifted and rolled the new, two-track bay South Tyson Avenue Bridge 13 feet into place in the Village of Floral Park.

“We’re going to see a transformation in the Long Island Rail Road’s ability to serve the public in the future,” Phillip Eng, president of the LIRR, said. “It just shows that we can get things done.”

MTA spokeswoman Liz Gutierrez confirmed Monday morning that the South Tyson bridge expansion was completed over the weekend. 

“The bridge, in service since 1958, is being modified. The new bridge will address a bottleneck at this section of the LIRR’s Main Line – where four tracks merge into two – and accommodate a future third track to increase capacity and improve service reliability,” she said.

Gutierrez said the new third track will originate from the Hempstead Branch, then merge with the Main Line east of South Tyson Avenue to accommodate a future increase in capacity on the Main Line.

The work for the bridge’s “roll in” started last Friday at 10 p.m., and lasted until 6 a.m. Monday. During this time the LIRR Expansion Project team rolled the recently constructed new bridge into place. South Tyson Avenue, between Tyson Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, was closed for the entirety of the weekend’s work.

Eng said  the completion of the project was “another proud day for the Long Island Rail Road and the industry.” 

Thomas McGuinness, deputy project manager for the LIRR’s  expansion project, said in an interview on the site Saturday, “It’s like playing chess.  You’re always thinking of the next four operations that have to take place and thinking what can go wrong.” 

McGuinness said the bridge was the main focus of the weekend as the Hempstead branch had to be open in time for the morning rush of people taking the train into work early Monday. As a consequence of this work, however, there was a double track outage on the Hempstead Branch going east throughout the weekend. Trains for the LIRR’s Main Line continued to stop at Floral Park Station.

Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said of the weekend installation, “It went in very smoothly.” He said he did not hear many complaints, saying, “It was very good for all.” 

With the work finished on schedule at South Tyson Avenue, Longobardi said the work will not interfere with classes starting at the John Lewis Childs School in Floral Park, which Longobardi said was a major concern for the village board. 

After receiving some of the lowest approval ratings in a recently released community scorecard by the project’s development team, Longobardi said he did not want to speak for residents or make judgments whether approval ratings would increase next quarter. 

“It depends on how well they work,” Longobardi said. “Residents will speak their minds, I respect them.”

Longobardi also noted that work will no longer be occurring in “people’s backyards.” It will now be done on the line’s retaining walls and focus on adding a new, single-track bridge to the existing Plainfield Avenue Bridge on the Main Line. 

Longobardi said that residents should “exercise caution” and be mindful of the ongoing electrical work and elevator work going on in Floral Park for the project.

Phase 1 for the elevator installation portion of the Floral Park Station Enhancement Project beganlast Thursday.  The LIRR Expansion Team said =the elevator installation work is not expected to have any impact on access to Floral Park Station.

However, along Atlantic Avenue, between Carnation Avenue and Vernon Avenue, 30 parking spaces will be removed from service for the duration of the elevator’s seven-month installation work.

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