The long-awaited completion of reconstruction projects on three east Bronx overpasses seems to be reaching its conclusion.
According to the state Department of Transportation, the overpasses in Throggs Neck and Castle Hill will all be completed by the end of the year.
The bridges are undergoing replacement of the concrete roadway decks, new sidewalks, improved fencing and new lighting both above and below the roadway.
The longest of the projects will have taken two years to restore.
The overpasses are located at Castle Hill Avenue over the Bruckner Expressway, and Lafayette and Pennyfield avenues over the Throgs Neck Expressway.
One of the crossings, at Castle Hill Avenue, is already done and totally reopened to traffic, said state DOT spokeswoman Diane Park.
“The other two bridges are set to wrap up construction at the end of the year,” said Park.
Castle Hill merchants are pleased the job is done because more parking is now available and the constant gridlock caused by the lane reductions during the project has ended, said William Rivera, Community Board 9 district manager.
But he said he had to cajole DOT officials to speed up the project when the board learned that the same work crew was being used on all three bridges at once.
“They took too long,” he said, adding “Theoretically, this bridge could have been finished three times faster if the contractor had a dedicated crew working on the bridge.”
Rivera explained that the work crew would rotate between the worksite at Castle Hill Avenue and the other two locations, with no work being done for days at a time.
“They never told us it would be the same crew on all three bridges (at once),” said Rivera, who added that the board would now ask questions about these types of arrangements on all future projects.
In Throggs Neck, the Throggs Neck Home Owners Association has been fielding complaints about the lane closures that have reduced traffic on the bridges to one lane in each direction.
“It has been an issue because one side has been completely inaccessible and it is causing traffic to squeeze in,” said Robert Barbarelli, TNHOA board member, who also said that there is a sense of restlessness among some in the community.
Ken Kearns, CB 10 district manager, said that he has been informed by the state DOT that tentatively, the projects in general are set to be mostly completed soon.
“I think people are tired of looking at the construction,” said Kearns of the bridge projects. “They are tired of dealing with the reduction of traffic to one lane (in either direction).”
But, he added that be believes that people will ultimately be satisfied with the work.
Rivera added that some secondary utility work remains to be completed around the Castle Hill site.