Over a single weekend, August 24-25, crews from LIRR and 3rd Track Constructors worked around the clock to successfully “push” into place the new bridge and underpass structure for Covert Avenue in the Village of New Hyde Park. Workers moved the pre-constructed structure in increments more than 50 feet into position on the LIRR Main Line, after removing tracks and excavating down 25 feet in preparation. LIRR crews then rebuilt the tracks and reinstalled the supporting systems.
“It’s a unique operation, and now that we’ve done it a few times, we’re probably going to become the experts on it,” said Mark Roche, senior director of alternative project delivery for MTA Capital Construction, the agency leading the LIRR Expansion Project effort. “It’s quite nice to be at the forefront of these types of things.”
The Covert Avenue Grade Crossing Elimination project marked the fourth successful bridge installation this summer, a significant milestone for the LIRR Expansion Project. LIRR crews and 3TC contractors worked efficiently to complete the work within the tight timeframe, including the “push” of the new bridge, all 1200 pounds of it, and LIRR service between New Hyde Park and Hicksville was restored by 5 a.m. Monday, in time for the morning peak commute.
This effort began in April, with the closure of Covert Avenue, as crews excavated an area on the north side of the railroad tracks, and built the new bridge and tunnel structure within the excavation, which was 25 feet deep.
LIRR president Phillip Eng visited the Covert Avenue site Saturday and Sunday, and remarked, “we are making just huge efforts, and huge strides, that are going to make the Long Island Rail Road’s capabilities so much better in the future.”
Following additional work in and around the area, Covert Avenue will reopen to motorists with a two-lane underpass with a pedestrian sidewalk on the east side of the underpass. Once completed, elimination of the Covert Ave grade crossing will alleviate vehicular congestion crossing the railroad tracks, reduce emissions and improve the reliability of the LIRR Main Line. The reconstructed grade crossing, designed in conjunction with the Village of New Hyde Park, will enhance safety and provide for a quieter and more livable community along the railroad. For more information and photos of ongoing construction, please visit Covert Avenue Grade Crossing Elimination project page on AModernLI.com.
The LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville, reducing train congestion and delays and enabling true bi-directional service during peak hours. The project is part of a multibillion-dollar modernization of the Long Island Rail Road, the largest investment the railroad has received in decades. Once work is complete, the LIRR will have increased its capacity by roughly 50 percent. With the additional planned upgrades to stations, new amenities, modified bridges, added parking and grade crossing eliminations, the project will help transform transportation across the region and provide a reliable, state-of-the-art rail system for Long Islanders.