Vice President Joe Biden visited the city Wednesday to help mark the start of the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation project – which is partially funded by the economic recovery act.
Biden discussed the $508 million makeover alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the Manhattan-side of the bridge.
The project, which should be completed by 2014, involves repainting the bridge and expanding approach ramps to improve traffic flow. About 150 jobs will be created by this project, including 44 pre-existing jobs.
"Here's the deal. This and the Golden Gate Bridge are the two most recognized bridges in the entire United States of America, among the two most recognized bridges in the world. To be here, to be able to be part of helping restore this iconic bridge is a pretty neat thing," said Biden. "This project symbolizes nearly 1,200 bridge projects that are underway under the American Reinvestment Act."
"You can see there's deterioration on these bridges, flaking. And what we're also doing is at the same time that we're repairing the bridge and upgrading the infrastructure, we're expanding the capacity on the bridge," said city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
The Manhattan-bound lanes of the bridge will be closed entirely for 24 weekends, but transportation authorities have no schedule yet so far.
The bike path and walkway will not be affected.
The federal government provided $30 million for the project, the city provided $286 million and the remainder came from other federal pools.
About 120,000 commuters cross the 6,000-foot long Brooklyn span daily.