MTA to Move New LIRR Bridge Into Place This Weekend at School Street in Westbury and New Cassel

This weekend, Oct. 3-4, MTA Construction & Development will install a new bridge that will carry the Long Island Rail Road over School Street, on the border of Westbury and New Cassel, replacing a railroad crossing that was the site of a collision on Feb. 26, 2019, that claimed the lives of the three people in an automobile that had been driven around downed gates. The crossing elimination is another major step forward for LIRR safety as part of the LIRR Expansion Project. The bridge installation will be the project’s fourth bridge to be built over a previous railroad crossing as the MTA aims to eliminate eight crossings by 2022.

Over the past several months, crews have assembled the new bridge adjacent to the tracks, in preparation for this weekend’s installation. The bridge will be installed using an innovative engineering approach known as box-jacking that dramatically cuts down on the length of time required for this project.

As trains approach Westbury Station, grade crossing gates are in the down position 27 to 35 percent of the time during AM and PM peak periods, respectively. The School Street project was accelerated due to the fatal accident in 2019. The need for grade crossing elimination is further illustrated by the six fatal crashes at grade crossing locations in the LIRR Main Line corridor between 2007 to 2017.

The elimination of the grade crossing has been designed in conjunction with the Village of Westbury and Town of North Hempstead, with feedback from residents, commuters, and elected officials. The project will strengthen the reliability of LIRR infrastructure and support the growth and development of Long Island and the wider region and will enhance safety and provide for a quieter and more livable community along the railroad.

The crossing at New Hyde Park Road was eliminated in August, and the nearby S. 12th Street crossing is scheduled to be eliminated before the end of the year. The MTA bridged over the former railroad crossings at Urban Avenue in New Cassel and Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park last year. Three crossings in Mineola, two at Willis Avenue and one at Main Street, are slated to be eliminated sequentially in the fall of this year through 2021.

To allow this work to take place, weekend service changes along the LIRR’s Main Line, along with other adjustments on other branches, are necessary. Service details can be found below. NICE buses will cross-honor LIRR tickets on the N22/N24 routes for service between Hicksville and Mineola and N40/41 service between Mineola and Hempstead. For more information, including travel tips, alternate station options, a map detailing the service changes, and parking details, please see this page at the LIRR website.

Hempstead Branch – Special Timetable Here

Service on the Hempstead Branch will operate on an hourly basis, and trains will operate to and from Penn Station for the majority of the weekend, with some trains operating between Hempstead and Brooklyn during the late night and overnight hours. At all other times, transfer at Jamaica for service to and from Brooklyn.

Oyster Bay Branch – Special Timetable Here

Service will operate every two hours. All trains terminate/originate at East Williston Station. Take free LIRR shuttle buses between East Williston, Mineola and Hempstead, where hourly train service will be available, or use the Port Washington Branch.

Huntington/Port Jefferson/Ronkonkoma Branches – Port Jefferson Special Timetable Here  Ronkonkoma Special Timetable Here

Revised train routes will require westbound customers from Huntington, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma to transfer to a shuttle train at Hicksville stopping at Bethpage and Babylon, then connect with a train from Babylon to Penn Station. Eastbound customers traveling to Huntington, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma will reverse the process and take a train from Penn Station to Babylon, transfer to a shuttle train stopping at Bethpage and Hicksville, then transfer again to an eastbound train from Hicksville to points east. Please allow up to 60 minutes of additional travel time. As alternatives, consider traveling via the Babylon, Montauk or Hempstead branches.

Bethpage Station

All train service will be provided by the diesel-powered shuttle trains with bi-level cars that will operate between Hicksville, Bethpage and Babylon. Electric trains will not stop at Bethpage Station. Westbound customers should wait on the eastbound platform (Track 2, Platform B), and board a shuttle train to Babylon. At Babylon, transfer to westbound express trains to Penn Station that make limited stops, including Jamaica. Eastbound customers should wait on the westbound platform (Track 1, Platform A), and board a shuttle train to Hicksville. At Hicksville, transfer to an eastbound electric train for service to stations Farmingdale through Ronkonkoma.

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: October 1, 2020