NEW YORK – FEMA has awarded more than $1.6 million to the New York City Department of Transportation for repairs to the Carroll Street Bridge, which sustained damage from Hurricane Sandy.
A historic crossing over the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, N.Y., Carroll Street Bridge is one of only a few bridges in the United States that retracts horizontally to open for marine traffic (known as a “retractile”). The bridge first opened to traffic in 1889 and is the only remaining wooden bridge that carries cars in the city.
For people who live in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn or along the 1.8 mile-long canal, the bright blue crossing makes the neighborhood unique. In fact, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Carroll Street Bridge as a historic landmark in 1987.
When Hurricane Sandy struck the area on Oct. 29, 2012, the storm surge flooded significant portions of the bridge, damaging the steel beams, motors and electrical control console. The federal funds will be used to restore the bridge back to its days as a unique neighborhood passageway.
FEMA’s Public Assistance will be helping with the costs associated with repairing the historic bridge. “Restoring Carroll Street Bridge is an important part of Sandy recovery,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne. “The bridge is a point of pride for people living in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, and the repairs will help give the neighborhood a sense of normalcy.”
Surrounded by cobblestone paving and made of wood planking, the Carroll Street Bridge carries neighborhood residents and tourists alike as they enjoy its unique character during lazy afternoon walks.
The bridge uses a motor to operate a system of pulleys, cables and a winch. The restoration started in April 2013 and the NYC DOT will be repairing the electrical components that open the bridge to marine traffic, as well as the beams and bulkheads.
In the meantime, the city suggests that drivers who frequent the one-way, eastbound crossing use the Union Street Bridge two blocks away as an alternative. Neighborhood dwellers will be glad to hear they can start crossing Carroll Street Bridge in the next few months.