Archive for the tag 'overpasses'


Avenue U between East 15th Street and East 16th Street is currently closed to traffic after a crane struck the Brighton line subway overpass.

At approximately 11:15am, a large flatbed truck carrying the crane and two concrete cylinders attempted to pass under the overpass, but it just didn’t have the clearance. The crane slammed into the overpass, ripping the bolts free from the truck and tumbling to the ground – where it’s now jammed several inches into the newly paved asphalt.

“The truck is about 35 feet away from the crane – it really smashed it. The crane is embedded into the asphalt. The bolts that were holding it onto the truck are probably a good three or four inches into the street,” said tipster Randy Contello.


FDNY responded to the scene and is still there, closing the street as they look to extract the stuck machinery from beneath the overpass.

DOT has also been summoned to the scene, but there have not been significant delays to B/Q service. Engineers are on-site determining the best strategy to remove the equipment.

No injuries were reported.


Photos by Randy Contello.

Updated 12:25pm with additional details.

Update (12:55pm): They’ve brought in a crane to remove the crane. “Craneception,” said our tipster, Randy Contello.


Update (1:56pm): The MTA said there’s been some damage to the overpass, but nothing significant. They also noted that the crane was still functional, which speaks volumes to its craftsmanship, I guess. Additionally, our tipster said that as of a minute or two ago, the crane has been loaded onto a flatbed and the street should reopen soon.

Update (2:02pm): The MTA has confirmed that the crane is owned by the MTA. They have not yet said whether the truck was being driven by an MTA employee. Portions of the above article have been edited to reflect this.

Correction/Update (3:30pm): Apparently it’s a bad day for cranes, and the MTA is getting all mixed up. They’ve retracted the previous information about this crane being owned by the MTA, and now note that that was about a similar incident in the Bronx. This appears to have been a private crane, and our tipster said the truck driving it was owned by Stillwell Construction.

View more photos.


A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

A truck wedged under the Sheepshead Bay Road overpass. Photo submitted by Craig S.

Neighborhoods along the elevated portion of the B/Q Brighton Line are no strangers to the thunderous crash of a truck whacking into the train line’s overpasses. South of Avenue J or so, the elevated line is relatively low to the ground, unlike the towering els of Brighton Beach Avenue or 86th Street, and many a trucker makes the misguided attempt to get by despite standard signs indicating clearance.

We’ve covered quite a number of such collisions here on Sheepshead Bites.

Now Councilman David Greenfield is requesting that the MTA install flashing yellow warning signals at all railroad underpasses in Midwood, Homecrest and Sheepshead Bay. The hope is to prevent the collisions, which cause traffic accidents and backups. In a letter to MTA Acting President Carmen Bianco and Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Palmieri, Councilman Greenfield asks that these signals be installed along avenues that cross beneath the railroad tracks, which run between East 15th Street and East 16th Street and serve the B and Q trains. Greenfield is calling for the lights at all underpasses from Avenue J south.

“This is a simple and inexpensive step that the MTA can take to improve safety and help prevent traffic jams throughout our community. Aside from causing headaches for other drivers, these incidents of drivers ignoring the existing signs and becoming stuck beneath the bridge can cause serious accidents or significant damage to the overpass. With that in mind, I hope the MTA will agree that it makes sense to install clearer, more visible flashing signals at those locations,” Greenfield said in a press release.


Underneath the Belt Parkway overpass located on Sheepshead Bay Road and Shore Parkway, you can now come face to face with the most famous anchorman in all of pop culture, Mr. Ron Burgundy.

Next to him the caption reads, “ART IS NOT A CRIME,” accompanied by an image of a mind-controlling television.

Though it bears a passing resemblance, it appears this creation wasn’t done by Banksy; after finishing his month-long residency, he’s high-tailed it out of New York.

So who’s the mysterious man to bring the famous San Diegan – er,  San Diego-ite? San Diego-in? San Diego-un? - anchor to Sheepshead Bay? A small tag next to the anchorman says AINAC, and a quick Google search suggests he’s hit a few spots in our area over the last week or two.

While we know our readers aren’t fond of graffiti done without the permission of the property owner, I’d say the Department of Transportation’s neglect of that crap-filled passageway borders on vandalism of our quality of life. It would be nice if they responded to Sheepshead Bites’ multiple inquiries over the years to commission a mural there.

Regardless, stay classy, Sheepshead Bay.

– Daniel Gokstein

Correction: The original headline of this article misspelled Ron Burgundy’s name as Burgandy. Our deepest, sincerest apologies to the fictional newsman. We will aspire to match his quality of reporting in the future.


Source: DOT

Who would have ever imaged that the Department of Transportation’s ambitious Seven Bridges project would be ahead of schedule? Way back when the project began in 2009, our readers and community leaders expressed concern that the seven-year plan would stretch into the long haul.

But, gift of gifts, the reconstruction project is one year ahead of schedule, according to DOT authorities.

In an e-mail update on the project, their outreach team wrote:

Miscellaneous punch list work remains, but no restrictions of traffic are anticipated outside of the daily, permitted lane closures through the completion of the project in October 2014. NYCDOT would like to thank the public and motorist for their patience and we are glad to report that the project is a year ahead of schedule.

The agency expects to hit the latest milestone on Wednesday, August 21, when they will announce all major work is officially complete on the first three bridges: Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin, covering the bridges between exits 11 and 14.

Meanwhile, work will soon begin on the dismantling of the next batch of bridges, eventually seeing the replacement of the Nostrand Avenue Bridge, Gerritsen Inlet Bridge, Mill Basin Bridge, and Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge.

Click to see illustrations of proposed Nostrand Ave Overpass

As we wrote in 2010:

The plans show the DOT is emphasizing increased safety, traffic flow, design aesthetics, and environmental protection as they go forward with the project.

Though the three bridges currently being worked on are the largest projects, commuters and boaters will likely experience the largest impact at the Mill Basin Bridge. Built circa 1940, the drawbridge has a 35-foot clearance. The new bridge will be a fixed structure with a 60-foot clearance. Lanes will be expanded by half a foot, and safety shoulders will be added in both directions. A new fender system will be installed to protect the bridge substructure from marine traffic.

Sheepshead Bay residents will also see benefits from the Nostrand Avenue overpass renovations. Currently the support columns of the three span structure blocks the view of car traffic underneath. The proposal aims to turn it into a single span, removing the supports to improve sight lines. Nostrand Avenue will be widened and realigned. Meanwhile, on the Belt itself, the road will be widened to provide safety shoulders, parapets will be installed, and the corrugated metal guide rails will be replaced with a reinforced concrete median.

The DOT has also made some alterations in response to community concerns. In Bergen Beach, residents complained that the new roadway configuration made visible to residents the rapid succession of headlights from the vehicles. The DOT has installed 392 feet of 6-foot-tall “glare fencing” to respond to the concern:


Source: DOT

What do you think of the new bridges, and how the DOT has managed the project?


Legend has it that when Robert Moses designed the Belt Parkway, he made the overpasses low in order to ensure buses couldn’t travel on it, so that the lower-class masses, dependent on mass transit, couldn’t access the fancy-shmancy beaches of Long Island. And while it seems to have been successful in keeping buses off,  it appears truck drivers never got the memo.

Of course, as residents we all know commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Belt Parkway. But when ill-informed truck drivers try to skirt the rules, it turns into a spectacular failure. Last time we reported on one, in June 2012, it turned into a multi-agency removal effort, and caused an SUV to be crushed in the impact. Almost exactly two years before that, in June 2010, another tractor-trailer tried sneaking on in the middle of the night, and ended up turning the area around the B/Q overpass at East 14th Street into a wasteland of debris.

There must be something about June, because it happened again last night. At around 9:20 p.m., an 18-wheeler illegally traveling eastbound on the Belt Parkway again slammed into the B/Q overpass, snarling traffic for hours.

Making matters worse, as it was being removed by the Queens-based Runway Towing Corporation, the truck was dragged along and then – wham! – right into the Knapp Street, Exit 9 sign, destroying that as well.

Sheepshead Bay’s subway and pedestrian overpasses outside the Belt Parkway are also no strangers to the occasional daring truck driver trying to squeeze through – and failing. For just a few examples, see herehereherehere and here.

For this one, readers Butch Moran and Ed Ioffe happened to be on-hand to catch some photos of the damaged truck.

Check out the photos after the jump.

Source: satyadasa via flickr

Progress continues on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) seven-year renovation plan of the Belt Parkway’s seven bridges and overpasses, as the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge opened to westbound traffic, according to a press release.

As we’ve previously reported, construction along the Belt Parkway has caused heavy traffic problems, so the opening of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge should help the thousands of cars that run along the highway flow. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan seems to thinks so.

“Each day our Belt Parkway bridges come alive, carrying 150,000 cars and connecting commuters and commerce across the city and the region,” she announced in the press release.

The bridges and overpasses were built over a half century ago, forcing the impetus for revitalization and repair:

As with the other six Belt Parkway bridges, the total replacement of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge and its approach roadways will provide the necessary upgrades to bring the structure into compliance with current State and Federal standards. This includes wider travel lanes, safety shoulders, median barriers, improved elevation of the roadway around curves and realignment for improving sight distances and drainage enhancements. This project replaces the original Fresh Creek Basin Bridge, which, along with the other Belt Parkway bridges, was constructed more than 70 years ago and has reached the end of its useful life.

A tractor trailer illegally traveling eastbound on the Belt Parkway struck the subway overpass at East 14th Street, tearing open its haul and causing an SUV behind it to slam into its rear.

The driver of the SUV escaped injury, though the vehicle’s front was crushed. The accident, which occurred just before 9:30 a.m., caused severe delays on the Belt Parkway as authorities shut down all lanes of traffic.

Authorities removed the cargo from the tractor trailer to get it under the overpass. A fire truck hooked its front to the tractor trailer’s load and dragged it off the highway to the Shore Parkway service road, between East 15th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road, which authorities closed to traffic. The highway was reopened just after 10:00 a.m. as a tow truck carried the crushed SUV to the service road as well.

Tractor trailers, like all commercial vehicles, are not permitted on the Belt Parkway.

“I know that. I know,” the driver told Sheepshead Bites when asked if he knew about the restriction. “My boss told me to go on 27. I thought it was closed … so just a little bit.”

The truck driver faces a summons for the violation.

As of this writing, tow truck operators, police and Department of Transportation officials are still on the scene. The tractor trailer’s cargo, was loaded onto a flatbed truck for removal, leaving scratches in the asphalt from where it was dragged.

The overpass had no notable damage, a police officer on the scene told Sheepshead Bites.

FDNY trucks pull the tractor-trailer's load from the highway to the service road, dragging it over the divider. (Photo by Diana R.)

It’s here, it’s here! It’s finally here!

The re-opening of the East 8th Street Bridge – a.k.a. the Guider Avenue Bridge – is scheduled for tomorrow, December 2, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

That means motorists heading from Brighton Beach to the westbound Belt Parkway will no longer be forced over the Coney Island Avenue Bridge, through the heavily-congested Avenue Z intersection, and down a residential block in order to get to the highway. After nearly two years of construction, they’ll finally return to the faster, more direct route of the Guider Avenue Bridge.

The opening was original planned for last week, but rain prevented the installation of the final pavement sealant. It’s not the first delay on the bridge – construction was intended to be completed in spring of 2011, was pushed back to fall, and, well, the latest completion date is slated to be in February 2012 – two full years after it began.

Though the road will be open tomorrow, the bridge will remain closed to pedestrian traffic until all work is complete, according to the Department of Transportation. Temporary barriers and fencing will also remain in place until then.

Man, I wish we had a better photo of this one. We’re glad, though, that reader Anastasia at least sent this one, letting us know about the late-night accident on Saturday on the Coney Island Avenue bridge over the Belt Parkway at Guider Avenue. Sent to us at 1:00 a.m., the photo didn’t come with any explanation, but it looks to me – given that there’s no major damage to the side – this guy may have rode the median railing straight up. Anyone have any additional information?

Also, be smart: put Sheepshead Bites’ e-mail address – tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com – into your phone’s contacts, so you can e-mail or text us breaking news and photos as soon as you capture it.

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