New York State officials announced Thursday the start of construction on a $28.2 million project to replace the Walt Whitman Road Bridge over the Long Island Expressway.
The overpass carrying Walt Whitman Road over the LIE is being replaced with a wider bridge. The current bridge, built in 1962, sits less than two miles from the Nassau-Suffolk border in traffic-congested Melville.
“Safe, modern bridges are integral to supporting an efficient transportation system and laying a foundation for local, regional and statewide economic success,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “These transformative projects will strengthen vital connections between and within communities, making travel for Long Islanders safer and more efficient for years to come.”
The current bridge features one southbound lane, one northbound lane and a northbound left-turn lane, with a sidewalk on the west side of the bridge and no shoulders. The new, wider structure will feature five lanes: two southbound lanes, one northbound lane, one northbound left-turn lane and an additional lane to provide space for a southbound left-turn lane at one end of the bridge and an extra northbound left-turn lane at the other end of the bridge. Sidewalks will be installed for pedestrians on both sides of the highway, with shoulders for bicycling on each side.
The new bridge is being constructed utilizing resilient materials that will require significantly less maintenance, including metalized steel girders that do not require painting and a continuous bridge span instead of a multi-span structure, which does not require bridge joints, allowing for a smoother riding surface. The work will begin shortly, with completion scheduled for fall of 2020.