After years of setbacks and delays plaguing E. 153rd Street Bridge’s construction, many in the community are hoping to bridge the gap for this proposed neighborhood project soon.
According to the published February 2015 Register of Community Board Requests, Community Board 4 issued E. 153rd Street Bridge’s construction as their capital budget priority for fiscal year 2016.
The New York City Department of Transportation proposed reconstructing the E. 153rd Street Bridge overlooking the MTA Metro-North Commuter Railroad tracks between Park and Morris avenues and Concourse Village West and Grand Concourse after structural issues resulted in the original two-lane bridge’s demolition in 1992.
The proposed four lane design would have measured approximately 105 feet wide and 511 feet long, supported by a 195-foot tall towers at the bridge’s center and abutments at each end.
As the state’s first ever cable stayed bridge, the structure would have had two five-foot wide bicycle lanes and two ten-foot wide sidewalks as well as a four-foot deep bridge deck cross section.
For over two decades, CB 4 has been advocating for the cable stayed bridge’s development following the lower Concourse area’s new developments.
However, a NYCDOT spokesperson revealed that despite several attempts by the department, stakeholders, and the community, no funding has been secured for this project’s construction.
Delays resulting from the housing crisis caused the previous city administration to state the program was too expensive.
The most recent proposal for E. 153rd Street Bridge was released in 2009 and estimated the bridge at approximately $134.6 million. That same year, NYCDOT applied for the TIGER Grant requesting $111.5 million for the project, but those funds were never realized.
Jose Rodriguez, Community Board 4 district manager, explained the board continues advocating for this project and the community supports restoring and extending the bridge westward.
Rodriguez explained E. 153rd Street Bridge’s construction is vital in offsetting the anticipated resulting congestion from the area’s current redevelopment projects.
These redevelopment projects include a boutique hotel on E. 149th Street, approximately 150 units of mixed use housing with commercial attachments to the site’s south, and the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Study among others.
“This bridge is not only needed because of the events held at Yankee Stadium, but it’s also needed for all of the housing developments happening here in the district which will bring in more traffic and people in the next number of years,” Rodriguez expressed.
Should E. 153rd Street Bridge be constructed, NYCDOT and CB 4 explained it would provide residents a safe as well as vital connection between several south Bronx neighborhoods and allow access to Manhattan through the Macombs Dam Bridge and 145th Street Bridge.
In 2012, two buildings at the proposed bridge’s site were demolished in preparation for this project. NYCDOT collaborated with GreenThumb and the IRC to cultivate the site into a temporary garden for the time being, Rodriguez said.