Vital Helix Repairs May Snarl Traffic for Months

February 2, 2018

Commutes for Island drivers are about to get trickier. 


Repairs on the Helix ramp, which connects Main Street to the Roosevelt Island Bridge, are scheduled to begin February 15 and will continue for up to four months. During at least a portion of that time, cars in both directions will have to navigate a single lane of traffic. This means drivers will need to build in extra time to their daily commutes. 


At its January Board meeting, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation voted to enter into a $2.8 million contract with Specialty Construction Systems to repair the 40-year-old Helix and plaza. 


In a memo, Stephen Noone, RIOC’s new assistant vice president of capital projects and planning, says the Helix is “starting to deteriorate.” The former field supervisor for Cornell Tech describes structural wear and tear, and points out that several parts of the railings have been damaged by impacts. 


Without remediation, that wear and tear is likely to worsen as construction begins in earnest on a new residential tower in Southtown and Cornell Tech’s new executive center. 


According to RIOC engineering consultant, Michael Russo, a large portion of the work is similar to what was recently performed on the Tram platforms. He says the elevated concrete repair will include selective demolition, rebar splicing, concrete patch infill, and waterproofing.


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