East 78th Street Pedestrian Bridge Replacement

Gandhi Engineering was hired by the New York City Department of Transportation to design a replacement of the 70-year-old pedestrian bridge on East 78th Street in Manhattan. After significant preparatory work, this $12 million project was successfully implemented in two quick mornings of work.

The first phase of work on the East 78th Street Bridge was completed on July 31, 2011. This portion of the contract included removing the current pedestrian bridge – which runs over six-lanes of traffic on the FDR Drive – in only five hours. The scope of work included detaching and removing the bridge spans by saw-cutting, as well as disposing the three piers which supported the structure. We faced the additional challenges of having limited working space, strict enforcement of working hours, noise and dust control, load restrictions on the FDR Drive, and gaining approval for the design from the NYC Art Commission.

In order to complete this initial phase of the project, we re-routed all six lanes of north-bound and south-bound traffic from the FDR into Manhattan and then proceeded to remove large sections of the bridge. Both the side span and the main span were detached using a 500-ton crane from Weeks Marine. After removing these components, they were then placed on a barge on the East River for easy removal.

The second phase of work included replacing the bridge spans on East 78th Street in another constrained time period. Over the course of only five hours, Gandhi Engineering completely installed a newly fabricated bridge main span running over the FDR Drive. This main span was designed by Gandhi Engineering, assembled in Pennsylvania, and then transported to Jersey City, NJ on two flat-bed trucks. The bridge was then transferred on to a barge and hauled up the East River to the construction site in New York. It was hoisted into place using the Weeks 500-ton barge crane.

The bridge was officially opened on January 20, 2012. Gandhi Engineering was part of the opening ceremony attended by the NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and NYC DPR Commissioner, Adrian Benape, as well as several additional members of local government in New York. Today the bridge is in place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where pedestrians use it daily to safely cross over the vehicular traffic below on FDR Drive.

For additional information about this project, please see the following press release issued from the New York City Department of Transportation: