By SÍLE MOLONEY
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, Oct. 22 that construction has begun on a $ 64.4 million project to replace the bridge carrying the Bronx River Parkway over the Metro-North Railroad in the Wakefield and Woodlawn Heights sections of the Bronx. According to the governor’s office, the project will replace a 72-year-old bridge with a modern multi-girder steel structure that will improve travel and increase safety along this vital artery for commuters in the metropolitan area.
Hochul said investing in infrastructure is one of the surest ways to boost New York’s economy and at the same time create a more resilient transportation network that keeps people and goods on the move. “The Bronx River Parkway is one of New York City’s most critical travel corridors, and with this bridge replacement now complete, we are not only ensuring the safe and continuous operation of the Metro-North line, we let us also promote growth and prosperity for the region as a whole ”, declared the governor.
Additionally, officials in the Governor’s Office said a nearby concrete arch bridge carrying the Bronx River Parkway will be repaired and the northbound exit ramp from the Bronx River Parkway to Bronx Boulevard will be repaired. extended approximately 70 feet to reduce congestion and further improve safety. .
New York State Department of Transportation commissioner Marie-Thérèse Dominguez said the The project demonstrates the governor’s commitment to rebuilding local infrastructure to better serve New Yorkers and meet the challenges of the 21stst century. “This new bridge and all of the improvements along this vital corridor will improve safety and traffic flow in this busy section of the Bronx,” she said.
About 450 Metro-North trains pass under the Bronx River Parkway bridge every day, according to the governor’s office. The new structure will feature a new, wider concrete deck, 12-foot-wide taxiways and new shoulders on both sides of the bridge. Other upgrades include new bridge abutments, retaining walls, LED lighting and drainage. Scheduled for completion in fall 2024, the new bridge will have an estimated useful life of approximately 75 years.
Responding to news of the new project, Representative Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) said New Yorkers Deserve 21st Century Infrastructure That Focuses about safety, accessibility and fairness. “I am delighted that the ground is now open for this important Bronx River Parkway upgrade project,” he said. “As Congress strives to push through substantial investments in all aspects of our nation’s infrastructure, I look forward to working with Gov. Hochul and the rest of our state and local government to ensure the longevity of our transit systems. ”
Meanwhile, representatives from the governor’s office said upgrades to the nearby concrete arch bridge over the Bronx River will include new concrete safety barriers on either side of the bridge, wider traffic lanes and new shoulders. Structural repairs will be made under the bridge and the stone facade will be cleaned and a new protective coating will be added. In addition, new LED lighting will be installed, handrails will be painted and new information signs will be placed along the adjacent Bronx River Greenway.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (SD 34), who recently announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 despite having been fully vaccinated, said mstrengthening New York State’s infrastructure was critical to ensuring the long-term safety of the local community. “This project will not only protect commuters, it will limit traffic jams and also reduce travel time,” said Biaggi. “I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for prioritizing the Bronx River Parkway bridge in the North Bronx and invest in our state’s public infrastructure.
The project also includes improvements to the Bronx River Parkway between Nereid Avenue and East 233e Street in Wakefield including new LED lighting, wider traffic lanes, new shoulders, redone pavement and new overhead signaling structures. To better manage traffic volumes, signal times will be recalibrated at the East 236 exit rampe Street and Bronx Boulevard, as well as the intersection of Carpenter Street and East 236e Street. The project will also make improvements to the landscape throughout the project boundaries, including the planting of 23 new trees and 189 shrubs.
Member of the Assembly Jeffrey Dinowitz (81 AD) says the Bronx River PArkway was a vital infrastructure for both Bronxites and commuters in the Hudson Valley and like many parts of New York City and the country, it was essential that the government invest in infrastructure so that it could last for many decades to come. “Thanks to the governor. Hochul and the NYS Department of Transportation for giving this area, where the boardwalk crosses the Metro-North lanes and the Bronx River itself, the attention and investment it needs, ”he said.
To minimize the impact on the traveling public, lane closures during construction will be largely limited to weekends and night hours.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also welcomed the news, saying: “Ensuring safety, improving infrastructure and reducing congestion on this vital artery that connects metro commuters is essential in the northern Bronx. “He added:” Thank you Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Transportation for starting this vital work.
During this time, Éric, municipal councilor for district 11 Dinowitz said he was Glad the North Bronx is benefiting from this vital investment in the region’s infrastructure, making it safer and more convenient for commuters to cross the Bronx River Parkway. “These much-needed improvements prove that state leaders are paying attention to the Bronx. I want to thank the governor Hochul for his commitment to our greater borough.