If you’ve been held up in traffic at the Unionport Bridge lately, you’re not alone.
The reconstruction project that started last February is not moving along to the community’s liking.
One of the major culprits causing the gridlock is a lack of traffic agents that were promised by the city agencies.
According to community boards 9 and 10, a scarcity of traffic agents is why none have been provided for this project.
“The city has not kept its promise to our community,” said CB 10 district manager Matt Cruz. “Why promise something if you don’t have the resources?” he questioned.
“We’ve gotten so many complaints from residents, being that this project had funding allocated from community boards 9 and 10. This is incredibly frustrating,” said CB 9 district manager William Rivera, adding that the backup leaves drivers sitting in traffic for 45 minutes at a time.
Rivera mentioned that construction of a nearby NYC Department of Health facility is also contributing to the traffic snarl. The DOH facility’s approval was contingent with the department obtaining traffic agents for the area, which according to Rivera, has not yet happened.
He wrote a letter to the NYC Department of Planning, explaining the problem: “We request the applicant, the NYC Department of Mental Health & Mental Hygiene, assist Community Board 9, to petition, the New York City Police Department, to implement Traffic Enforcement Agents at the intersections of Zerega Avenue, between Bruckner Boulevard and the Cross Bronx Expressway,” the letter stated.
“As a result of the Unionport Bridge replacement project, these intersections are gridlocked during rush hour traffic and on occasion the entire day. NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents were budgeted and planned for the duration of this five year construction project on both sides of the Unionport Bridge. Yet, the project has started months ago and we have not been allocated these assured resources. The absence of these much needed traffic agents has exacerbated congestion on both sides of the Unionport Bridge. The proposed site for this facility is located at 1235 Zerega Avenue, Bronx NY. Therefore, the applicant is not only a city agency but a stakeholder of our community and we believe they should assist us with this matter,” it concluded.
Bob Bieder, the 45th Precinct Community Council president is also exasperated that resources have not been provided for this project. At the time that construction began, the council supported the project iif it was done without impacting the area.
“The bridge is in pretty bad shape underneath from the pictures they showed us, and the roadway is not good either,” he said, adding that he believes that the city and community should look into the feasibility of building a second bridge over Westchester Creek at Lafayette Avenue.
“We need [the problem resolved] ASAP,” said Cruz. Being that the project’s expected conclusion is in 2021, Cruz continues to battle to get some answers because to have this kind of gridlock continue for literally years would be unbearable.
“We need something, drivers are doing their best to handle the brutal merges but there needs to be agents to at least [alert] drivers that this merge is coming,” he added.