I-95 pedestrian bridge repair next summer

Damage done to a Waterbury Avenue pedestrian bridge in August 2008 will be permanently repaired by the state Department of Transportation in the summer of 2010. Photo by Walter Pofeldt

The Waterbury Avenue pedestrian bridge linking Waterbury-LaSalle and Country Club will be permanently repaired next summer, a NYS DOT spokesman said. The children of P.S. 14 will not go without the bridge for a single school day.

The pedestrian bridge, to which the DOT has already made temporary repairs will be will see permanent work in 2010. The portion of the bridge above the southbound lanes of the Bruckner Expressway was destroyed when it was hit by a truck in the summer of 2008 and replaced with a temporary structure, DOT spokesman Adam Levine explained.

“We have scheduled the construction to begin after the last day of the 2009-10 school year and to be completed for the start of the 2010-11 school year,” Levine said.

The state DOT expects the repairs to qualify for federal stimulus dollars, Levine added.

Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto worked to get the temporary structure installed before the 2008-09 school year, after a truck plowed into bridge at about 2 a.m. on Friday, August 8, 2008 near Bruckner Expressway Exit 7B.

The temporary structure helped children from Country Club and Spencer Estate who attended school at P.S. 14 cross the highway. The permanent repairs belong to a series of capital improvements to highways in the Bronx, Levine said.

Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association member Andrew Chirico called the replacement of the temporary structure with a permanent structure during the summer months a smart move.

“That bridge doesn’t get a lot of pedestrian traffic in the summer,” Chirico said. “I think if they replace the bridge and it is safe, that is all that is needed.”

Chirico doesn't mind that DOT plans to replace only the part of the bridge that was knocked down, he added.

On the other side of the Bruckner, Country Club Civic Association president Marcia Pavlica will be glad to see the bridge fixed because many seniors use it to get to the Super Foodtown at 2945 Bruckner Boulevard.

“I am little surprised that the replacement is so imminent because I thought that state was having such a hard time [financially,]” Pavlica said. “We have many seniors who use the [bridge] to get to Super Foodtown. I think that the courtesy being extended to the children of our community is [also] very nice. We would be really pleased to have the replacement so soon because of the stimulus funds.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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