May/June 1999, p.5

Manhattan Bridge Slowly Nears Peacetime Footing

When the U.S. entered World War II, the City closed down the walkways on the Manhattan Bridge in an attempt to fortify its islands. Although the U.S. won the war in 1945, the walkways remain closed. The good news is that by spring 2001, according to the NYC Bureau of Bridges, the Manhattan Bridge will regain its non-motorized thoroughfare, at which point all of the East River Bridges will provide 24-hour bike and pedestrian access for the first time in at least 50 years.

Look closely and you'll see that the bridge's path structure has been built and most of the railing is in place - so why the two year wait? Thanks to a complicated rebuilding process and a contract that requires completion of the south side subway tracks first. In fact, the contract specifically calls for the path to be used as a construction staging ground. Over the next two years, workers will replace the entire structure under the subway tracks on the south side (the tracks, which have been closed since 1991, carried 160,000 subway riders a day). At various points in the track overhaul, the bike/ped path will have cables running across it and be contained in plastic as sandblasting and finally, painting, is completed.

"By spring 2001 ... all of the East River Bridges will provide 24-hour bike and pedestrian access for the first time in at least 50 years."

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