A new bridge is being planned to carry a major artery through Pelham Bay Park.
The NYC Department of Transportation presented preliminary plans to build a new Shore Road Bridge over the Hutchinson River beginning in 2022, according to a presentation officials made to Community Board 10’s Municipal Services Committee on Wednesday, June 13.
The presentation included several design options, and seemed to lean towards a double- leaf bascule drawbridge that is taller than the present bridge linking Shore Road and Pelham Parkway over the river, according to attendees.
The current Pelham Bridge is over 100-years-old and is need of replacement, with the DOT officials indicating that building a taller bridge would necessitate less need to open and close the bridge for nautical traffic.
CB 10’s district manager, Matt Cruz, said that board members were very pleased that DOT came to the community for input early on.
“The board members were certainly pleased that the city took it upon itself to come before us years before there would be any action,” said Cruz, adding “This was a nice example of good planning and good communication.”
Cruz said that DOT will be back before CB 10 to further discuss the project as the start date of summer 2022 approaches, and that the board will have a vote on the project because the new construction will require a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
Bob Bieder, a member of the CB 10 Municipal Service Committee, said he was impressed that officials came before the board during the planning process.
“They came to us before anything is finalized, which is very unusual, and the DOT Bridges people told us this is the way they are going to do things from now on,” said Bieder.
Bieder said that ULURP would be required because alienation of parkland is necessary.
The board would like to know how the alienated parkland would be replaced, said Bieder, adding that he is hoping that the land can be replaced, as is required by state law, with new parkland either in or near Pelham Bay Park.
The new bridge is expected to follow a path that would be alongside the current Pelham Bridge, said Bieder, which would be expected to also limit any disruptions due to the construction.
Barbara Dolensek, City Island Civic Association vice president, attended the June 13 presentation, which was developed by DOT and engineering firm Hardesy and Hanover.
“This bridge is one of the busiest bridges in the city,” said Dolensek, who added more and more openings are required because of large antennas that are sported on many seafaring vessels.
The new bridge is expected to be wider with better access for bicyclists and pedestrians, said Dolensek, with the presentation showing a preliminary design for a proposed cross section of the bridge including two 11-foot-wide lanes for motor vehicle traffic.
She too was pleased that the city came to the community very early in the design process.
According to the DOT presentation, the bridge replacement is expected to cost $250 million with construction expected to take three years.