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MTA Reopens Denton Avenue to Vehicular Traffic Following Bridge Replacement

Long Island Rail Road
Updated August 1, 2022 2:15 p.m.
Denton Avenue Reopening

New Sidewalks Along the Roadway Provide Safe Customer Access to Nearby Merillon Avenue LIRR Station

Denton Avenue Bridge Is Seventh and Final Bridge to Be Replaced or Upgraded as Part of the LIRR Third Track Project

Robust Landscaping Plan and Salvaging of Original Bridge Granite Create Beautiful Space Nearby

View Pictures from Denton Avenue Reopening

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) today announced that Denton Avenue and Tanners Pond Road in Garden City have reopened to vehicular traffic following the replacement of the Tanners Pond Road/Denton Avenue Bridge with a modern three-track bridge.

The new bridge is part of the Main Line Expansion Project which is adding a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville. The construction of the third track will reduce road congestion by giving the LIRR more operating flexibility, enabling it to operate true bi-directional service during peak hours on the Main Line which consists of three branches (Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson/Huntington and Oyster Bay.) In the event there are service disruptions, delays can be more easily managed and minimized. 

Safety along the Main Line corridor has been dramatically improved with the replacement or upgrading of seven bridges and the elimination of eight at-grade crossings. Nearby residents will no longer have to deal with the sounding of train horns and crossing bells. Traffic backups due to the closure of crossing gates and over-height truck collisions with railroad bridges will also be a thing of past.

“It may be small physically, but the Denton Avenue Bridge demonstrates why the LIRR Third Track Project is a historic success.  Delays due to litigation could have led to major delays to the whole project, but our team came up with strategies to shorten construction and minimize disruption to the project, and to the community,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.  “Unlike most public sector mega projects, Third Track is on schedule and even $100 million below budget

“Now that Denton Avenue is reopened to traffic and enhanced with sidewalks for pedestrians, Garden City residents will be able to take advantage of all of the upgrades at nearby Merillon Avenue station and all of the expanded Main Line service that will be available by the end of the year,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “The Third Track team made a herculean effort to create stations and infrastructure that are critical to service upgrades while maintaining the beauty of the Denton Avenue Bridge and green spaces that surround it.”

“The new Denton Avenue Bridge is a major milestone for LIRR Third Track,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “Through innovative construction techniques and coordination with the Village and across the MTA, we minimized disruption and delivered this key safety upgrade for both nearby residents and LIRR customers.”

“The new Denton Avenue Bridge will significantly improve the quality of life for Long Island commuters,” said State Sen. Kevin Thomas. “These critical infrastructure upgrades will also benefit the community as it gives our region more opportunity to grow and invigorate local economies. I’m thankful for the expeditious coordination and cooperation between residents, the MTA/LIRR, and local municipalities to ensure community input was at the center of their plans to upgrade the Denton Avenue Bridge with minimal disruption and construction.”

“This is an exciting day. It's the result of a lot of conversations, local government working with the MTA and a lot of people who had to have tremendous foresight to sit down, make compromises and listen to the residents and now we're finally seeing a wonderful product,” said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena. “Obviously, the commute into the city is vitally important to us here in Nassau County, and I'm thrilled to be able to work with the MTA and LIRR in continuing to improve our service.”

“Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena and I welcome the completion of this underpass. I believe the elimination of all the grade crossings is long overdue and will save lives,” said Town of North Hempstead Councilman Dennis Walsh. Congratulations to 3 T C and the MTA for all their efforts. This is a very difficult project and is being completed on time to better serve the riding public.”

“Today marks historic day with the reopening of the Denton Avenue underpass. As was the day that the Denton Avenue bridge was constructed more than 100 years ago, the new underpass wing walls are built with the original 100-year-old granite blocks that were repurposed by 3TC and granite works from my direction and after much discussion,” said Mayor of Garden City, Cosmo Veneziale. “Cooperation between the village of Garden City and the LIRR made this reconstruction possible. We thank all the workers involved. Let's continue to work together to make Garden City the special place that it is.”

The new roadway features improved traffic control measures, an ADA-compliant sidewalk, making it safer for pedestrians, additional connectivity to newly reconstructed Merillon Avenue station with improved access to the north and south sides of the station from the Denton Avenue sidewalk and Nassau Boulevard Bridge.

The Denton Avenue project was a close collaboration between the MTA and the Village of Garden City, which ensured the aesthetics of the new bridge reflected the character of the original structure which has been in service since 1944. Denton Avenue remains a one-lane throughfare with bi-directional traffic (using traffic control measures.)

The MTA made a concerted effort to maintain the historic beauty and character of the original bridge by salvaging the original granite and working with a local specialty firm (Granite Works NY) to reinstall it on the front-facing sides of the new bridge.

A robust landscaping plan answered the desire of the Village to maintain the beauty of the area around the bridge. Beginning at the intersection of Main and Denton Avenue, adjacent to the bridge and proceeding east, sound attenuation walls set back toward the tracks created additional space on MTA property for an enhanced landscaping plan that was designed to provide seasonal interest and a variety of species, textures, and colors creating a substantial visual buffer between the residential community and the essential railroad infrastructure.

Nearby Merillon Avenue Station was also upgraded including:

    • New platforms that accommodate 12-car trains.
    • Platform canopies, furnishings and customer amenities including benches, shelters, and signage, and free public Wi-Fi
    • New elevators and ADA ramps, using the sidewalk at Nassau Boulevard rather than a pedestrian overpass (based on community feedback)
    • CCTV security cameras to improve safety
    • New bike racks and art
    • USB charging stations and digital information displays

The roadway closed Jan. 3 to allow crews to perform the bridge replacement, and the new bridge featuring a third bay for a third track was put into place over the weekend of April 30-May 1. The bridge has been raised from 12’9” to a national standard height of 14’0”, consistent with bridges along the Main Line corridor. The higher height is expected to dramatically reduce the number of incidents of trucks striking overhead LIRR bridges, which leads to train delays and traffic backups.