Heat wave in New York causes malfunction of Third Avenue Bridge

Serious traffic disruptions due to the closure to traffic of the Third Avenue Bridge, which connects Manhattan to the Bronx, which remained open due to the thermal expansion of the steel

An intense heat wave in New York has caused the Third Avenue Bridge, which connects Manhattan to the Bronx, to malfunction. The bridge was temporarily closed yesterday afternoon due to thermal expansion of the steel, which locked it in an open position. Temperatures in Central Park reached 95°F (35°C), the highest recorded so far this year.

Local authorities quickly addressed the issue, with teams from the FDNY (New York City Fire Department) and the DOT (Department of Transportation) using boats to spray water on the bridge in an effort to cool the steel and allow the structure to close properly. Online videos show four crews working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Opened in 1898, the Third Avenue Bridge is a crucial toll-free transit route between the Bronx and Manhattan. The malfunction caused significant traffic delays in the South Bronx, particularly along the Major Deegan Expressway and East 138th Street, with disruptions continuing even after the bridge reopened around 6:30 PM.

Temperatures could feel like 104°F

The city is experiencing its second heat wave of 2024, with a heat advisory in effect until Wednesday. In some areas, the perceived temperatures could reach 104°F (40°C), creating additional challenges for residents. Authorities have urged people to take precautions to avoid heatstroke, providing information on symptoms to watch for in both people and pets. As the heat wave persists, it is crucial for residents to stay cool and hydrated, utilizing available resources such as local pools and beaches.

Infrastructure Challenges in Extreme Heat

This incident highlights the infrastructure challenges cities face under extreme weather conditions. Thermal expansion of construction materials like steel can lead to significant operational issues, as demonstrated by the Third Avenue Bridge. Authorities must be prepared to respond quickly to such emergencies to minimize the impact on daily life.

Source: NYCEM

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