Two Long Island bridges are among more than 100 key New York crossings earning a line in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s FY2018 budget proposal.
Suffolk County would receive $11.5 million to put toward ongoing rehabilitation of the Horseblock Road bridge over Long Island Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road in Medford, while Nassau County would receive $5 million to support work on the Merrick Road bridge over Milburn Creek in Baldwin, according to the governor’s spending plan, which now faces Albany’s legislative gauntlet.
All told, Cuomo – who’s made infrastructure-improvement standard operating procedure, particularly upstate and along certain Long Island corridors – earmarks more than $115 million for bridge repairs in fiscal 2018, which begins April 1.
Funding would come from the $1 billion BRIDGE NY program, part of a $22 billion, five-year fund Cuomo reserved in 2016 for statewide infrastructure improvements.
The lion’s share of Cuomo’s FY2018 bridge proposals goes to New York City, which would receive more than $35.3 million – $17.65 million each for repair work on the Manhattan Bridge, spanning the East River between lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, and the busy Riverside Drive crossing over West 158th Street.
Other sizeable stipends are earmarked for the Mid-Hudson Region, where 17 projects would receive $21.8 million in state funding, and the Western New York Region, where 15 projects would be supported by $20.3 million.
The smallest stipend would go to the Capital Region, where $5.9 million is proposed for 10 bridge-repair efforts.
Projects were selected through a competitive-application process that evaluated current structural conditions, safety issues, the significance of the span to local traffic and business patterns and other critical factors, according to Cuomo’s office.
While most of the projects on Cuomo’s FY2018 list involve rural overpasses and other small spans crossing country brooks and streams, the Manhattan Bridge stipend – part of a rehabilitation effort that began more than five years ago – stands out. The double-deck suspension bridge, which opened to traffic in 1909, is more than a mile long in total (6,855 feet), with a 1,470-foot span over the East River.
The toll-free, seven-lane bridge – one of three East River crossings between Manhattan and Brooklyn – services more than 70,000 vehicles a day, while carrying four different lines of the New York City Subway and lanes for pedestrians and bicycles.