Photo by Mary Servatius

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Bridges and Tunnels has awarded Tutor Perini Civil, New Rochelle, N.Y., a five-year, $235.7-million contract to replace the upper level deck of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Preparatory work is expected to begin in early 2013 with roadway construction scheduled to begin in 2014, MTA says. Completion is set for the end of 2017.

Under the contract, announced Dec. 4, crews will replace the upper level's existing concrete-filled steel grid deck with a new steel orthotropic deck. The contract also includes construction of the agency’s first reversible high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV), which will connect with HOV lanes on either side of the bridge.

Work will take place in four main stages and include installing new finger joints, a bridge barrier, a bridge drainage system, orthotropic deck waterproofing, Rosphalt asphalt overlay, new sign structures, and upper and lower deck roadway lighting.

“The advantages of an orthotropic deck versus a traditional concrete deck are that orthotropic decks are a more durable, lighter and stiffer deck system, improving seismic and wind performance of the bridge,” says David Riggs, Verrazano-Narrows facility engineer. “An added benefit is that the deck system is a continuous structure without expansion joints, which tend to leak and accelerate deterioration of the supporting steel below."

The project is “a difficult job like any job in the New York Metro area with high traffic volumes on a big structure, but [Tutor Perini] crews have been successful on other similar jobs,” says Robert Dennison, New York regional director of transportation design services at VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture, Albany, N.Y. Tutor Perini is “a very capable contractor and should be able to complete the project on schedule.”

MTA says it will award a separate contract next year for construction of a new ramp on the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that will connect the bridge HOV lane to NYS Dept. of Transportation’s Gowanus Expressway HOV lane.