BAY RIDGE — The second phase of the Verrazano-Narrows toll plaza improvement project is set to begin. The $50 million, 45-month project includes removing the remaining three unused eastbound toll booths, rehabilitating the Brooklyn-bound toll plaza and improving to the bridge’s entrance and exit ramps.
The project will be done in multiple stages and will begin with the removal of the last three Brooklyn-bound toll booths at the end of the month barring any major winter weather events. The first eight booths were taken down in 2010 under the first phase of the toll plaza improvement project.
The work will include multiple traffic pattern shifts over the course of the project, beginning with a new traffic pattern from west of Fingerboard Road through the Brooklyn-bound toll plaza that will be in place starting Saturday, Jan. 28. Traffic will be shifted to the right of the construction zone before the toll plaza and continue right around the work zone. Motorists will have access to both levels of the bridge after the toll plaza.
Motorists will be directed to the new pattern via electronic and fixed signs that will be in place both before the toll plaza and along the Staten Island Expressway. All nine lanes of traffic feeding into the bridge, including those from the SIE, Narrows Road South, and the Father Capodanno and Lily Pond entrance ramps, will be maintained during peak driving times. Off-peak lane closures may be scheduled.
“Each traffic shift will be closely monitored to make sure that traffic from the entrance and exit ramps and the Staten Island Expressway continues to flow smoothly onto both levels of the bridge,” said Verrazano-Narrows Facility Engineer David Riggs.
The project was designed and is being closely coordinated with the New York State Department of Transportation’s Staten Island Expressway Access Improvement work which includes widening of the Fingerboard Bridge overpass and new exit and entrance ramps along the expressway corridor.
“Motorists will see a lot of activity surrounding the Verrazano-Narrows in the next several years but when both the MTA and State DOT projects are finished customers will see a marked improvement in the flow of traffic through the busy Staten Island corridor,” said Bridges and Tunnels Chief Engineer Joe Keane.
Other highlights of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2015 include:
• A new fly-over ramp from Narrows Road South (service road) will be built to help ease both car and bus traffic onto the Brooklyn-bound upper level of the bridge.
• Rehabilitation of the toll plaza roadway from the Staten Island Expressway to accommodate traffic that will be traveling through the area at highway speeds rather than toll booth stop-and-go conditions.
• Construction of a new lower level connector ramp that will take motorists directly from the Staten Island Expressway to the bridge’s lower level.
• A new fly-over ramp at the Lily Pond entrance ramp to the bridge will be constructed to improve roadway logistics and allow smoother access for buses and cars onto the bridge’s upper level.
• Rehabilitation of the Father Capodanno entrance ramp and the Lily Pond exit ramp.
The contract for the work was awarded in September 2011 to Restani Construction Corp., of Astoria, Queens, and includes a provision that a total of 20 percent of the work will go to hiring minority and women subcontractors.
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which opened to traffic in November 1964, is used by an average 188,000 vehicles daily.