LIRR Bridge Among $16.3M In State Rail Projects

A Long Island Rail Road bridge in Queens will be renovated as part of new rail-infrastructure improvement projects greenlighted Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

All told, the governor’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program announced $16.3 million in grants to support 12 statewide infrastructure projects, including $1.8 million to rehabilitate the 89th Avenue train bridge in Woodhaven.

The LIRR bridge is one of three statewide train bridges being renovated by the new grants package, along with 52 miles of track and various railroad-related facilities. The dozen projects will also leverage roughly $12.8 million in “additional public and private investments,” according to the governor’s office.

The 12 projects, which were selected through a competitive solicitation process, are “critical to New York State’s future economic prosperity,” Cuomo noted.

“These grants will help modernize and rebuild our state’s aging rail infrastructure, which will not only support existing commercial activities but attract new business investments as well,” the governor said in a statement.

There’s no official word on whether the 89th Avenue bridge will remain open during the renovation work. The governor’s press office did not return several calls Tuesday.

The Woodhaven effort is the latest LIRR improvement project championed by Cuomo, who’s made regional railroad improvements – including the long-debated “third track” effort and the Long Island Rail Road Double Track project – cornerstones of his ambitious Long Island infrastructure agenda.

In addition to the 89th Avenue bridge, the Genesee River railroad bridge maintained by the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad Corp. of Monroe County and the New York and Ogdensburg Railway’s Raquette River Bridge in St. Lawrence County are both scheduled to be rehabilitated.

Other projects covered by Tuesday’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program announcement include track and siding additions for CSX Transportation lines in Albany County; an extension of Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad Co.’s Genesee County warehouse; and an expansion of a Tioga County Industrial Development Agency rail-to-truck “transload” facility.

The PFRA Program invests state funds in enhancement projects – including bottleneck-alleviating track expansions and rail-yard modernizations – that promote statewide economic development, primarily by enhancing the movement of freight.