GWB - mega beam platform removal - 6/17

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Anonymous's picture

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be removing a mega beam platform from the George Washington Bridge from 10pm on Friday, June 16 to 10am on Saturday, June 17. Three upper level lanes will be closed in each direction during the removal. On the New York side, the ramp from the Henry Hudson Parkway to the upper level and the 179th Street entrance ramp to the upper level will also be closed during the removal.

Anonymous's picture
Donald Bear (not verified)

Specifics re bike path on the bridge AND w'side path under the bridge?

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)

according to the gwb manager's office, the south sidewalk will be closed while the work is being done, but this is beside the point: the south sidewalk is closed as of today, through september, to rehab the ramps.

i was told that the north sidewalk is open and will remain open while the ramp rehab is being done, including while the beam removal is being done on saturday morning, and that there will be signs directing people to the north sidewalk.

i asked them to post this info on the pa web site. (

in future, to get info on the status of the sidewalks, we can call 201 346 4100. whoever answers the phone should be able to answer our questions or will call back with an answer.

Anonymous's picture
Ellen (not verified)

As of 11AM this morning .....from Ralph Malinia(sp?) head construction engineer......the path was due to shut down this past Monday but construction delays postponed the close one week.
So, the south path is now open and will remain open through Sunday, June 18. Then it closes for sidewalk renovation through September 11.
The north side will be open for that duration.

Anonymous's picture
hannah (not verified)
Stairs *again* this summer?


Anonymous's picture
sympathetic whiner (not verified)
ramp closed ALL summer??

Is there any way to urge the powers that be NOT to close the south sidewalk for the entire summer? To maybe consider construction in the fall or spring?

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Do you have a connection w/ a local TV news department of paper?

"Symp. Whiner has it precisely right: Why was the work not scheduled for a time when the walkway is less used, i.e. in the fall, winter, or early spring? This would appear to be yet another show of disregard for the public by the Port Authority

Tomorrow I will ask if the PA would permit us to bike across the bridge in convoy fashion, holding to one lane, on the half hour on Saturdays and Sundays: NY to NJ: 8-10AM; NJ to NY: 10-4. (Ralph Molinia (212) 346-4161) is the GWB construction supervisor we are referred to but we need someone higher or at least in a different role with the PA.)

Of course, the PA has no incentive to say ""yes"" so let us plan to appeal their rejection higher and higher and make a public wave. Do any of you reading this have an in with one of the local TV news departments?"

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Is this really a big deal?

But climbing stairs is good load-bearing exercise - it helps prevent osteoporosis!

There are any number of reasons why the work on the ramp might be hard to do in the fall or winter: dangerous (slippery), too slow (too cold for motar and concrete work), and, last but not least, expensive! All these little projects need to be fit into a larger plan and delaying one of the smaller parts could easily delay the whole, idling workers and equipment while the meter is running.

During the week, I don't see that many cyclists on the bridge, so it's really only a few weeks' worth of weekends that will be inconvenient. And with vacations and time out of town, I'll bet many riders don't have to use the stairs more than five or ten times.

Obviously, I don't mind climbing the stairs. I ride across the bridge all year 'round, so any time to work on it is as good as another. Even better - this time I'll be using the stairs so that the ramp can be fixed up! Let's hope it will be improved, and not just repaired. What's not to like about that?

Anonymous's picture
Stephen Crowe (not verified)
More bikes than you might think

Tony, there's actually a lot more bike traffic than you might think on the bridge. I'd guess that between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on a weekday morning, at least a hundred bikes cross over it.

Besides being inconvenient, the metal stairs can also be dangerous with slippery bike shoes. Many brands of bike shoes these days now have carbon soles that aren't designed for climbing metal stairs. Cleat covers help, but who really wants to take them on and off 4 times for a roundtrip ride to Nyack?

Three months is a long time to shut the path during peak usage. I hope the new ramp is a genuine improvement.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
C. 150 stair steps carrying 20 lbs. vs. riding across w/ PA help

Slip slidin' away.

As I recall, there are c. 143 steps, up-and-down, or maybe as many as 165. The steps are hard, smooth steel. Walking up and down them in hard plastic or steel cleats presents a hazard I would think the Port Authority would just as soon not leave itself open to having; walking up and down them in hard plastic or steel cleats while carrying an out-of-balance twenty pound weight is moreso. Surely the Port Authority also thought the south walkway/bikeway was better: it created it.

I will be interested in learning--and will ask--what the construction is that it couldn't be done/have been done in September-October or March-April, not to mention the winter months. I am open to learning and accepting reason.

As for the convoy idea, the Port Authority patrol cars ferry back and forth across the bridge anyhow so it wouldn't seem to impose too great an additional burden on the PA officers to put one car ahead of a bunch of cyclists confined to one lane, and one behind the bunch. The cyclists would not move so much, if any, slower than regular traffic so it won't so indispose drivers.

If the convoy went every half hour, that's only five trips to NJ and thirteen returning from NJ. While it's never good to go into a negotiation making concessions at the outset (hmm, some negotiation: we have nothing to offer the Port Authority except our good will), moving the convoy every hour instead of every half hour would be acceptable. That would mean only three trips to NJ and seven back from NJ for the PA police.


Full disclosure and writer's credit: If Tony's note appears redundant and derivative of mine, it wasn't and isn't. His note should not be read as simply repeating one of my points. I intended to write (only) Saturday and Sunday in my original post, forgot to, went back to add it. As it turns out, Tony had already picked up on my omission.

Having written this, I acknowledge, and am interested to learn the point Stephen made.

In terms of improving the bike can it be improved? The entire bridge isn't going to be widened for us or the driving lanes made narrower and the curb moved into them. The stanchions around which we have to turn carefully aren't going to be moved. And not for a second can I imagine the Port Authority building an entire new ramp to remove that hairpin turn--although that is doable at, I imagine, some great expense (which is why I doubt its happening). Better mirrors or even a closed circuit TV could be placed at the stanchions to enable us to see people ahead of us around the bends. That would be good.

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
I'm backpedaling

And one can do this on a bicycle as well!

I completely agree that the stairs would be very tricky and no fun at all to climb in road shoes with exposed cleats.

I had a pair of carbon-soled shoes for a while (I thought they might help with hot spots, which they didn't) and I liked to break my neck just walking out of my apartment. I could barely get up and down the three stairs in front of my building (just three stairs, not three flights of stairs) without slipping. This was too much hassle, so now I wear MTB shoes with recessed cleats.

But even with grippy MTB shoes, I have to be very careful when descending the long set of vertigo-inducing stairs at the west end of the path.

I guess if we do have to use the north path, just think cyclocross. That's what I do.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
Cutting the corners around the abutments would make it safer.

Somehow, I doubt this work is being done for cyclists and pedestrians. Hopefully, I am wrong.

Anonymous's picture
hannah (not verified)
bike coalition?

Is this something that the NYC Bike Coalition could address? (Am hoping Prez Carol reads this and responds.) This particular closure may or may not be necessary at this exact time, but what really concerns me is that the south walkway was also closed a good chunk of last summer and the summer before (or maybe three summers ago; I'm not sure). If they cared about us, you'd think they could look at their schedule and combine jobs so that they don't have to close the same stretch of walkway three years in a row.

My tactic has been to take the stairs westbound and then ante up for a ferry for the return trip. Will most likely do this for the Campmor ride I just listed for July . . . especially if the shopping is good!


Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
Rode the bridge this morning with workers working.

Orange cones were up to demarcate workspaces, but it would only be a matter of time before bottlenecks precipitate an accident involving cyclists, workers and/or pedestrians.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
OK, here's the result of my speaking to the PA about the GWB

"I talked with an earnest and responsive Tony Ciavolella, a press officer for the Port Authority, and Robert Durando, general manager of the GWB.

The work being done that requires closing the south path to us is the area that connects with Hudson Terrace, i.e. the sidewalk area that feeds off/onto the bridge on the NJ side. It is being widened and that retaining wall moved back in some respect. This is good news for us. That is a pinched area.

It is concrete work which is ""weather-sensitive."" Added to that is the fact the work is done when money for it is appropriated and becomes available.

Bikes would not be permitted on the bridge because of the expansion joints snaring tires. (Several years ago, when a man whose legs were paralyzed was completing his record handcycle ride from Huntington Beach, CA. to City Hall in NYC, we met him in NJ to escort him into town and had a police escort across the main bridge roadway. As it happens, I did flat on one of the expansion joints.

In any event, the PA could not pull an officer off his regular patrol duty to escort us in convoy fashion.

There is no possibility of rebuilding the ramp up to the GWB to eliminate that sharp hairpin.

As for my suggestion that mirrors be maintained and perhaps a closed circuit TV put in place to help us see around the stanchions, I was told Noah Budnick of TA was going to meet with the PA people and would go over ideas with them. I'll see Noah is made aware of this thread.

The work is scheduled to begin ""Late June, early July"" and be completed in September.

Anonymous's picture
sympathetic whiner (not verified)
still want to know

If the money's been approved, isn't there any possible way to hire people to do it in mid-late Sept., when it is still warm out?

And will it actually take 10 weeks to do this job? I can't imagine that people will be working on it for 10 weeks, but admittedly, I know little about construction.

Alternatively, is there anything that can be done to make the stairs on the north side less slippery? (This is not a rhetorical question; I genuinely want to know!)

At any rate, Richard, thank you for making the call.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)

why cant they run a bicycle shuttle across while its closed. the bridge people wouldnt expect car driver to push their cars , why are bicylist expected to carry their bikes up and down hazardous steps.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
To shuttle or not to shuttle.


Your wonder/question is one I considered. I didn't pursue it for the following reason. The City of NY did dedicate buses to carry cyclists and their bikes across the Queensboro Bridge at certain intervals during a period of work on the bridge roadway cyclists used.

But therein is the distinction: in that case there was NO way a cyclist could get across the bridge on his bike.

Here, alas, there is.

If one of us would volunteer to fall on a stair and severely sprain his or her ankle or sustain other injury with the result the Port Authority was sued on account of it, that might cause some introspection at the P.A. (And, no, I am NOT suggesting/implying/recommending/encouraging such a thing or staging a fraud. I'm just being my usual [pick one: ( ) provocative ( ) thinking] self.

Anonymous's picture
mike p (not verified)

what about people that are disabled and cant carry their bikes the 72 steps

Anonymous's picture
Jen Benepe (not verified)
Full GWB Bridge Schedule Posted

I have posted the entire schedule for the GWB path closures that start this weekend, late Sunday.

go to or

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)

Jen, thanks for compiling all this information on one page. The PA says on their site that the south sidewalk will be closed through September 11, 2006. I wonder, is there any significance to that?

Very nice website, by the way. I hadn't seen it before.

Anonymous's picture
Herb Dershowitz (not verified)

Any significance? Yea, we have to walk up and down those damm stairs. As if I needed another excuse not to ride.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Contrary to PorAuth announcement, it hasn't been closed yet.
Anonymous's picture
melissa (not verified)
South Side now closed

Rode River Road this morning at the usual pre-6am time.

South side of the GWB is now officially closed. Bring your cleat covers if you don't want your cleats munched to bits by the slotted metal stairs on the NJ side.

cycling trips