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March 1, 2010

Untangling the "conundrum" of Carlton Avenue Bridge; crucial delays were (likely) caused by FCR's cheaper redesign of the permanent Vanderbilt Yard

Atlantic Yards Report

How did the closure of the Carlton Avenue Bridge--a key thoroughfare between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene--turn from a two-year project to a stalled venture lasting more than four years, scheduled for reconstruction only in time for the opening of the Atlantic Yards arena?

Forest City Ratner (FCR) executive Jane Marshall last week called it "a conundrum," blaming the delay on the complexity of reconstructing a bridge that straddles the Vanderbilt Yard, a key element of the Atlantic Yards project.

But that explanation, as well as further elaboration by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), doesn't add up.

Notably, the bridge was originally supposed to reopen by the time a temporary railyard was completed--and the latter has been accomplished.

Also, unmentioned in the explanations, a key factor in the delay was likely Forest City Ratner's effort last year--well after the demolition process had begun--to renegotiate plans for a smaller and less costly permanent railyard.

In fact, it's possible that we won't see further action on the bridge until June 2011, the date "Improved Yard construction documents" are due to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The arena might open a year later, which means the bridge might be closed for four-and-a-half years.

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Posted by lumi at March 1, 2010 4:30 AM