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MTA Bridges and Tunnels to Install Safety Fencing on Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge

Bridges and Tunnels
Updated March 17, 2021 9:30 p.m.

28,000 Linear-Foot Barrier to Span Upper and Lower Levels


MTA Bridges and Tunnels announced today that it is moving forward with the installation of a safety fence on the upper and lower levels of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge suspended spans – the longest suspension bridge in North America. The MTA Board voted approval of a design/build contract to be awarded to El Sol Contracting/Dewberry Engineering in the amount of $32.8 million. The project is expected to be completed in less than two years with a significant portion of the work to be finished by the end of 2022. Phases of the project will be closely coordinated with other major capital improvements on the bridge. 

“This is an important safety feature t “This is an important safety feature being added to this high-volume facility,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo Jr., President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. The critical project required thorough analysis and testing to meet the structural and operational challenges of this major suspension bridge which is a critical link in the regional transportation network.” 

After testing and evaluation of previously installed prototypes, the agency is moving forward with the final design and installation of edge barrier fencing across the suspended spans between the Brooklyn Anchorage and Staten Island Anchorage, extending 28,000 linear feet. The project will improve overall safety on and around the structure and will be comprised of a high-strength, stainless steel mesh capable of withstanding the exposure to high winds, the marine environment, and other surrounding elements. The MTA has coordinated closely with regional emergency response partner agencies on this project including FDNY, NYPD, New York State Police as well as internal stakeholders. 

When it opened in 1964, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was the longest suspension span in the world, linking historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. Today, it remains the longest suspension span in North America and handles close to 70 million vehicles annually. 

For more information on MTA Bridges and Tunnels, visit https://new.mta.info/bridges-and-tunnels

New York State Senator Diane J. Savino said: "Throughout the years we have seen countless tragedies at the all too inviting open space on the Verrazzano Bridge. I applaud the MTA Bridges and Tunnels for taking the steps needed to create safety fencing after years of community advocacy. When someone is at their most desperate hour, I pray this will become part of the solution which prevents them from making that fatal decision." 

New York Assemblyman Charles D. Fall said: “We’re all aware of the unfortunate incidents that have taken place in recent years on the Verrazzano Bridge. I am glad to see the MTA Board taking the initiative to place safety fencing on the bridge to bring a sense of security and protection to the residents of Staten Island, especially living on the North Shore.” 

New York Assemblyman Michael Tannousis said: "I am glad to learn that the MTA Board has approved plans to install safety fencing on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. This project will improve the safety and security conditions of one of our most important pieces of infrastructure and will prevent future tragedies.” 

New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose said: “My colleagues and I have long called for safety fencing on the Verrazzano Bridge, and this week’s vote to move forward with them is long overdue. My hope is that this safety fencing saves the lives of those struggling with mental illness and depression, and that these men and women find the help they desperately need.” 

New York City Councilman Justin Brannan said: "I am relieved the MTA heard our clarion call to install safety fencing on the Verrazzano Bridge. Living near the bridge, my heart breaks when I hear helicopters overhead because I know it often means we've lost another soul to suicide. While it is tragic this fencing is needed at all, it will absolutely save lives. I am grateful to the MTA for moving forward with this necessary project. It will not solve our city’s mental health crisis, but it will be one less opportunity for a person to make a split-second decision that cannot be reversed." 

New York City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo said: "It would difficult to overstate what a substantial difference this safety fence will make. For years, I have been advocating for a physical barrier on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge because I feel it is the only way to really prevent suicides and give people a chance to get the help they need. To their credit, the MTA leadership listened and worked with me to  make this happen. This fence will literally save lives."