The two-lane span connecting Maspeth to Williamsburg will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday through May 14 as the Department of Transportation (DOT) repairs its bridge deck, cross bracing and steel beams.
Message sign boards will reroute cars over nearby Metropolitan Avenue Bridge. A community notice announcing the work put out by DOT said “the closure is necessary” in order to make the repairs.
The Grand Street Bridge gets heavy traffic from tractor-trailers and MTA buses. But at just 19 feet wide, it's too narrow to simultaneously accommodate large vehicles headed in opposite directions, a problem that often causes major backups on either side of Newtown Creek.
To fix that, the city proposed a wholesale reconstruction around 2002, but funding for the $70 million project has stalled, said Community Board Five District Manager Gary Giordano.
“A lot of projects that have not been deemed imminent have been pushed back,” Giordano said.
Jean Tanler, the coordinator of the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone, said widening the century-old bridge for modern-day transport is long overdue.
“We have a lot of trucks using that bridge and it just doesn't have the capacity,” Tanler said. “It's a significantly older bridge and it needs to be reconstructed.”
The first bridge at that site was erected in 1875 and quickly fell into disrepair. Its replacement was deemed an “obstruction to navigation” by the War Department in 1898. The current bridge was opened in 1903, at a cost of $174,937.