Volume 20, Number 44 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 14 - 20, 2008

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

Workers began knocking down half of the Rector St. pedestrian bridge last week. The bridge will close again this week to finish the project. The bridge will then remain open and there are not yet definite plans to knock it down completely.

B.P.C. walkers keep half a bridge on Rector

Battery Park City residents got a surprise Friday morning when they headed to the subway: The Rector St. bridge was closed. A crane hovered over the south tube, which was missing its flooring and a chunk out of its side.

“We had no idea what was going on,” said Angela Dowd, who has lived in Battery Park City for 19 years. “We were shocked — are they going to take bridge down with no notice to community, no warning? I hadn’t heard anything about it.”

As it turns out, only the southern tube of the bridge is being demolished, to clear the way for a park and pedestrian improvements along West St. The north tube reopened during the week, but will close one more time this weekend.

The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center posted a description of the project on its Web site last month and sent an e-mail blast to 3,400 people, spokesperson Deborah Wetzel said. The State Department of Transportation held a stakeholders meeting on the project in January and also sent notices to building managers, spokesperson Adam Levine said.

However, the news didn’t trickle down to all the residents. There was also no sign on the bridge telling people what was happening or when the bridge would reopen, though Levine said a sign would be in place by this weekend.

The work also required lane closures on West St. between Ward and Albany Sts. last weekend. This Saturday, lane restrictions will begin at 8 p.m. and last until early Monday morning. Between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, all lanes on one side of West St. will be closed, but one lane in each direction will be set up on the other side of West St.

In January, Leticia Remauro, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority, said that since the Rector St. bridge is temporary, it would remain “bare bones” and would not be redesigned. The authority is looking for a place to put a permanent bridge.

“It will be a thing of beauty when we get to it,” Remauro said.

-- Julie Shapiro



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