Phillip Eng, president of the Long Island Rail Road, made the announcement to a group of local officials during a meeting at Borough Hall last Wednesday.
Eng, who had an expansive career as an engineer, examined the bridge and determined it could be rehabilitated. He said the repairs would cost about $1 million and won’t take an extensive period to complete.
The crumbling structure, which the MTA has owned since the 1920s, has led to a number of issues for businesses along the bridge, including water leaks, disintegrated floors and roof problems.
In May 2017, MTA representatives met with owners and announced the possibility of demolishing the bridge and building a high-rise building in place of the dozen businesses.
After facing pressure from the community and elected officials, the LIRR agreed that it would commission a feasibility study to see if the bridge could be saved, but argued that there wasn’t enough funding for the study.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz was able to secure funding for the study, but Eng, who took office in April, said in May that he needed time to review the whole matter with a few analysts.
The $1 million that Koslowitz had set aside for the feasibility study will now be used to fund the repair of the structure.
“I commend LIRR President Phillip Eng for his willingness to reexamine the problem, bringing his professional abilities and background to the analysis, and concluding that the bridge does not have to be demolished,” said Koslowitz.
The Save Kew Gardens Coalition said the structural repair should be the first of more to come. In a statement, the group voiced that the MTA hasn’t yet committed to the full repair of the stores.
The MTA will spend the next several months preparing bids for the repair work.