Major changes are planned for a swath of east Bronx roads and highways that will finally unclog an everyday bottleneck.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, working with the state Department of Transportation, has obtained an approximately $33 million traffic mitigation plan for I-95 between Country Club Road and the Hutchinson River Parkway, Pelham Parkway and for a new exit off the Hutch into Co-op City.
It is fully funded in the state budget and ready to go.
The changes do not require any new large-scale infrastructure, but uses existing underutilized areas near the roadways and a new extended onramp to create new traffic patterns for the area.
The propsed plan, which could be completed in just a few years, would reduce entrances and exits onto I-95 from seven to four in the vicinity of Pelham Parkway.
It will create two new intersections for highway access just east and west of the highway on Pelham Parkway, said the assemblyman.
“Most of the changes will be directed at alleviating a lot of the I-95 (north) corridor backup that exists beginning around the Country Club Road exit and extends up to Pelham Parkway,” said Benedetto, who added “The state DOT, being creative and thinking outside of the box, has suggested a number of improvements and changes to this whole situation.”
Beside the amount of traffic on these roadways that necessitate the new measures, DOT believes that the amount of entrances and exits in the I-95 north roadway in such a short span is a major factor contributing to the traffic slowing down, indicated Benedetto.
The DOT’s ideas, would still allow for the same amount of access onto I-95 southbound and northbound, would also be a boon for pedestrians looking to reach Co-op City by providing traffic controls for people on foot to cross several roadways including Pelham Parkway, he said.
“This is major,” said the assemblyman. “It is fully funded, there is no new infrastructure construction in this plan, and therefore, they will be able to complete the improvements in a timely manner.”
Had the changes had included major construction the cost could have skyrocketed to over $100 million and taken 10 to 15 years to build, he said.
This will take less time because the plan works with existing infrastructure, he said.
“They came up with a plan that was inventive and that I think will work,” he said.
According to Assemblyman Benedetto, the changes are:
•widening the northbound roadway on I-95 from the exit 8B (Orchard Beach and City Island) to exit 9 for the Hutchinson River Parkway north, explained the assemblyman.
•creating two new intersections allowing traffic traveling in both directions on Pelham Parkway to reach I-95 both northbound and southbound.
•a new acceleration lane from the eastern intersection at Pelham Parkway which would allow both east and westbound traffic, as well as traffic coming from the direction of Pelham Bay, to access I-95 north.
•another new connector at the new western Pelham Parkway intersection that allows eastbound traffic to turn onto an existing onramp to I-95 south.
•a new off ramp and intersection leading into Co-op City from the Hutchinson River Parkway northbound at the Hutchinson River Parkway East service road and Bartow Avenue, where there will be a new intersection where motorist can make left and right hand turns.
“It might not be the perfect plan, but it is a good plan, and one that can work on many different levels,” said Benedetto, who added “Relief can be done in our lifetime.”