Hochul announces $500M project to rebuild Bronx River Parkway bridges

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Heavy rain and severe flooding closed off the Bronx River Parkway at Nereid Avenue on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.
Photo courtesy NYPD

Gov. Kathy Hochul this week announced a $517.5 million initiative to rebuild bridges along the Bronx River Parkway.

In the announcement from her office she said changes to the expressway are especially necessary as climate change continues to impact the area, and emphasized the need for upgrades in the some of the surrounding roadways. The project is slated to be completed in the spring of 2028.

“Modernizing our infrastructure to meet the demands of the 21st century means creating a transportation network that strengthens the connections between communities and provides opportunity for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists,” Hochul said in a statement.

Just last year, in September 2023, a week of rain flooded the Bronx River Parkway and caused suspensions on three Metro-North lines, as well as the 6 train. The parkway was temporarily closed in both directions as crews tried to mitigate damage, and Hochul declared a State of Emergency in not just New York City, but also the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

The $517.5 million project will replace two bridges just south of the Bronx Zoo: the bridge that carries the Bronx River Parkway over East Tremont Avenue, as well as the bridge over East 180th Street and Morris Park Avenue. Both bridges were constructed in 1951, according to Hochul’s office, and “are nearing the end of their service lives.”

The announcement comes four days before congestion pricing, which would fund outstanding MTA capital projects, was set to take effect. Hochul indefinitely delayed the program — which would institute a $15 toll for cars entering parts of Manhattan — in a last-minute decision earlier this month, a move that has drawn scrutiny.

The funding is coming from President Joe Biden’s federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act money.

“These much-needed enhancements will help ensure that this vital commuter route is ready for the severe weather caused by climate change and will make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to see and explore all that the Bronx has to offer,” Hochul said.

In addition to full bridge replacements — which aim to reduce longer-term upkeep costs and better weather them for climate change — the project will also bring new stormwater drainage facilities, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curbs, ramps and sidewalks. The state also plans to resurface the roadway along Morris Park Avenue from East 180th Street.

Hochul’s office said part of the project will also include the construction of a new exit ramp from southbound Bronx River Parkway to East 177th Street — crossing Morris Park Avenue, East 180th, and East Tremont Avenue. This is meant to smooth the flow of traffic and “help tie together residential neighborhoods.”

This particular area of the Bronx River Parkway has yielded multiple fatal crashes over the years, earning it the title of the parkway’s “Bermuda Triangle.”

People head up the Bronx River Parkway on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
People head up the Bronx River Parkway on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.Photo Camille Botello

In 2006, a family of five was killed on the expressway when their vehicle jumped the median into oncoming traffic near the exit to 177th Street. In 2012, a family of seven was killed on the parkway after their SUV hopped a guardrail and fell 60 feet to the ground. Most recently, in April, a 30-year-old woman was killed on the Bronx River Parkway and her 34-year-old passenger was left in critical condition after she lost control of her Jeep and struck a guardrail near the Boston Road Exit.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said in a statement that the upgrades are meant to create “a more resilient transportation network.”

“These new bridges, exit ramp and shared-use path along the Bronx River Parkway will improve and enhance travel for all users — especially bike and pedestrian users — along one of the Metropolitan Region’s busiest highways,” Dominguez said.

Reach Camille Botello at cbotello@schnepsmedia.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes