This Weekend: Urban Avenue Bridge Overpass Put into Place

The LIRR Expansion Project team has made significant progress on the Urban Avenue Grade Crossing elimination project and, over the weekend of July 20-21, the team will undertake its most significant work milestone – the roll-in of the Urban Avenue train bridge and supporting structure in New Cassel. The newly-constructed bridge/structure will hold three tracks. The former grade crossing is being replaced with a two-lane underpass for vehicular traffic and a pedestrian sidewalk. The Urban Avenue grade crossing is one of eight to be eliminated as part of the LIRR Expansion Project from Floral Park to Hicksville.

Prior to the roll-in of the bridge, retaining walls with finishes have been installed, and forms for concrete pours have been installed at top of grade. The bridge installation will be followed by additional excavation of the road on the south side of the bridge and further retaining wall and roadway construction, including the installation of drains to draw water from the roadway.

Temporary Service Changes

The final train bridge and underpass structural support installation at Urban Avenue over the weekend of July 20-21 will result in temporary LIRR service changes: there will be no train service at Carle Place Station and Westbury Station, and there will be no train service between Mineola and Hicksville (in both directions). Customers looking to travel through this area on the Huntington/Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay and Ronkonkoma Branches July 20-21 should be aware of service changes while this work takes place. Please read the July 15th MTA press release for more details.

For LIRR customers who use Carle Place Station and/or Westbury Station, the LIRR recommends traveling to/from Mineola, which has parking at a modest fee (no permit required) in the Mineola Intermodal Center garage. Bus service, via the N22 and N24 NICE Bus, is also a good option to reach Mineola Station – see www.nicebus.com for bus schedules.

Moving the Bridge

During the double track outage on July 20-21, the existing LIRR tracks and systems will be temporarily removed to allow for over 2,700 cubic yards of material below it to be excavated.  Once the excavation is complete, the bridge will be pushed into place utilizing a system that includes eighteen powerful jacks to slowly move the massive preconstructed structure into place: each jack has a capacity of 200 tons for a total of 3,600 tons of total jacking force, more than twice the required force to move the bridge. The jacking system can push 20 inches with each stroke. After each push of 20 inches, the jacking system will be advanced and repositioned for the next 20-inch push – over the course of the weekend, the jacking system will be required to be reset a total of 36 times to move the bridge structure the required 60 feet into its final position.  

Once the structure is in place, LIRR workers will re-install the tracks and support systems to allow for the Main Line to be ready for service during Monday morning’s rush hour commute on July 22. The road is scheduled to be re-opened to traffic this September.

Bridge Facts

  • Length of bridge: 40 feet
  • Width of bridge: 39 feet
  • Weight of the bridge steel superstructure: 140 tons (160 tons with ballast and track)
  • Total weight of new bridge: 1,200 tons
  • Total force required to push structure: 1,700 tons
  • How far will the U structure travel: 60 feet
  • Depth of excavation: 22 feet
  • Number of worker hours to construct and install bridge: approximately 2,000
  • Amount of concrete poured for bridge abutments and invert: 500 cubic yards
  • Number of commuters who will pass over the bridge each day: 107,000 customers per day on 250 trains

Project History

The project began with utility relocation in the spring of 2018 and the demolition of 117 Urban Avenue in October of that year. Crews also began drilling soldier piles that would shore up the excavation area. This enabled the project team to avoid closing Urban Avenue until March 8, 2019, when excavation for the underpass began – a shuttle bus service was established for pedestrians to get them from one side of the Mainline to the other, while avoiding the long walk along the vehicle detour.

Free Urban Avenue Shuttle Bus has been bringing pedestrians safely across the tracks at the Urban Avenue Grade Crossing elimination project since March.

Once excavation on the south side of the Main Line reached the appropriate depth, construction of the bridge and supporting structure to the Main Line tracks began.

Closure of Urban Avenue

Urban Avenue, from Broadway to Main Street, remains closed. The detour plan designed to make navigating around the closure as easy as possible is still in effect. The free pedestrian shuttle service also continues to be available from the corner of Broadway and Urban Avenue (north of the tracks) to Main Street and Urban Avenue (south of the tracks). The shuttle runs seven days a week, approximately every half hour from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

LIRR customers with additional questions should call the 24-hour Hotline at 516.203.4955 or email CommunityOutreach@LIRRexpansion.com. For more information, construction photos and architectural renderings, please visit the Urban Avenue Grade Crossing Elimination project page on AModernLI.com – //www.amodernli.com/project/urban-avenue-grade-crossing-elimination/.

LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville

Urban Avenue is one of eight grade crossings to be eliminated as part of the LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville, all of which will save commuters and community residents time, enhance safety and reduce vehicle emissions. The LIRR Expansion Project is part of a multibillion-dollar modernization of the Long Island Rail Road, the largest investment the railroad has received in decades.

Once the work is complete, the LIRR will have increased its capacity by roughly 50 percent. Together, the upgrades will help transform transportation across the region and provide a reliable, state-of-the-art rail system for Long Islanders. For more information about the LIRR Expansion Project, please visit the project page on AModernLI.com – //www.amodernli.com/project/thirdtrack/.