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Pelham Parkway reconstruction moves forward

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Pelham Parkway’s first phase of reconstruction is progressing, with new sidewalks, curbs, catch basins and roadway being installed on the south service road.

The current epicenter of the above-ground construction is Pelham Parkway South between Wilson and Stillwell avenues, where work is being completed that should enhance the area around Jacobi Medical Center. The first phase of the project is making sure progress, said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association.

“I know that the service road right now is bumpy and awful in most places, and you are afraid of damaging the undercarriage of your car, but this project is long overdue and now we just need the patience to wait until it finished,” Blitzer said.

The only portion of the Pelham Parkway South service road that is currently being paved and has new sidewalks is east of Jacobi Hospital, but work is almost done underground in terms of the underground infrastructure needed for the project, with work designed to take place in parts, Blitzer said.

“They cannot work on the whole parkway at once,” Blitzer stated.

According to the Department of Design and Construction’s most recent status update for the quarter ending Friday, September 30, about 32%, or $10.5 million of the project’s $30 million budget has already been spent.

Work has been completed on installation of the Pelham Parkway South service road 12” sewer main from Stillwell to Bolton avenues, as well as 20” water main from Stillwell Avenue to Boston Road, according to a recent DDC presentation before Community Board 11.

According to the same presentation, combined sewers have also been completed along Pelham Parkway South from Stillwell Avenue to Eastchester Road and from Williamsbridge Road to Wilson Avenue. Sidewalks and curbs have been installed from Wilson Avenue to Eastchester Road.

The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that both sides of the sidewalk be enhanced in the work area, said Jeremy Warneke, Community Board 11 district manager.

“The streets are not done yet, but I think that the sidewalks look great, and we are still looking at a 2012 deadline,” Warneke said.

The reconstruction of the southern service road is especially fraught with logistical challenges because of several large facilities lining the roadway, including Bronx House, Morningside House and Jacobi, Blitzer said.

Planting of 246 new saplings is now scheduled for the Spring of 2012, said DDC spokesman Craig Chin. The 4” caliber trees, larger that the 3” wide saplings, are now on order and will be planted as per the settlement with the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance, Chin said.

The planting had originally been scheduled for the this fall, but it makes sense to have the planting of the new saplings in the spring after much of the roadway work is complete, said PPPA leader George Zulch.

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