City Island temporary bridge rises next to existing crossing

Using barges, work crews are nearing the halfway point on constructing a temporary bridge to City Island.
Community News Group / Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The temporary bridge next to the existing City Island bridge is about half-way built across Eastchester Bay.

The three-lane causeway is being constructed as part of a project to replace the island’s century-old bridge, and is being built for about two years of use while construction on a new permanent bridge takes place.

Some on the island have questioned if the new bridge is wide enough for three lanes, but information obtained from the city Department of Transportation show that there will be that number of lanes, albeit slightly narrower in width.

“The roadway is 31-feet wide: more than 10 feet for each lane, said Barbara Dolensek, a City Island Civic Association vice-president. “It will have somewhat of a curve.”

Dolensek acknowledged that there was some concern among locals that the new bridge was too narrow.

However, she cautioned that people looking at the width of the structure being constructed should take into consideration the fact that pedestrian walkways will be added to the roadway section currently being built.

“A lot of people were very nervous that it looked so narrow,” she said. “But if you take into account this is being built without the access for pedestrians, it makes more sense.”

Community activist Steven Swieciki raised concerns about the width of the bridge of the temporary bridge during a question and answer session with Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at a CICA meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

In a follow-up interview, Swieciki said that several other locals had brought up the issue with him.

He said he was satisfied with Diaz’s answer and seemed to adopt a wait and see approach after learning more about the tempoarary bridge.

“If it was wider, it would be more accommodating,” he said. “But at this point, we have passed the point of no return.”

Dolensek said that the hope is that the temporary bridge will be ready sometime in May, and a statement from the city DOT indicates this is feasible.

“DOT anticipates temporary bridge construction to be completed in early summer 2015,” read a statement from a DOT spokeswoman. “Next steps include demolishing the existing bridge and erecting a new structure in its place.”

After construction Catherine Scott Promenade will be restored, and there will be an enlarged Legion Triangle with walking space and seating for people to pay homage to veterans.

The construction of a new causeway-style bridge comes after a community fight to change the original design of the new bridge, from the Bloomberg-era, that called for a soaring tower instead.

Helping the community in their successful fight was Senator Jeff Klein, who lauded the latest development. The design was changed to the satisfaction of community leaders after Mayor de Blasio took office.

“I applaud the efforts of the DOT, who has been nothing but cooperative over the course of this project,” said Klein. “While I realize there were initial concerns about traffic flowon the temporary bridge, the DOT assures us that those concerns have been met.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
This drawing, which was part of materials provided to the community by the city Department of Transportation, shows the widths of lanes and walkways on the temporary bridge being built linking Pelham Bay Park and City Island.
Photo courtesy of city DOT

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