Sewer upgrades readied in southwest Bronx

Neighborhoods in the southwest portion of the Bronx are scheduled for sewer and water main upgrade as part of a $46 million infrastructure project.

The NYC Department of Design and Construction, the NYC Department of Transportation and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection are partnering to install 39,300 linear feet of much needed upgrades.

According to Franco Mesiti, deputy director at the DDC, many of the cast iron pipes within the southwest Bronx’s water system were installed in the 1900s and some even date back to the 1890s.

“Cast iron mains are very brittle,” said Mesiti. “In time, they break.”

He continued, “If you have ever experienced a water main break on a 36-inch or 48-inch size water main it is an enormous burden.”

Construction workers will replace the iron with steel pipes.

The areas that are currently receiving the upgrades are:

• Southern Boulevard between Crotona Park East and Westchester Avenue

• Boston Road between East 179th Street and East Tremont Avenue

• East 179th Street from Boston Road to the dead end

• East Tremont Avenue between Boston Road and Bronx Street

• Bronx Street between East Tremont Avenue and East 179th Street.

In addition to water mains and sewers upgrades, the plan also calls for 29 new catch basins and 26 new sewer manholes.

Apart from sewer system fixes, the city will install new streetlamps and plant 160 new trees around the project sites.

In addition, there will be 1,500 square feet of new asphalt and concrete replacement at bus stops in the area and 50,000 square feet of new sidewalk and curb realignment.

Elected officials often complain about infrastructure issues within their district but have to wait for the city to address those issues.

When asked why it takes longer for these problems to get attention, Mesiti pointed to financing.

“This is a $45 million dollar project,” said Mesiti. “Financing these projects can be lengthy.”

Despite the costly nature of the project, Mesiti said waiting any longer to complete the project could also be extremely expensive.

According to Mesiti, if a water main were to burst it could take down the elevated train tracks that sit above streets like Southern Boulevard.

“Where there are elevated structures [damages are] probably in the millions,” he said.

Mesiti also said all of the new water main pipes on Southern Boulevard will be moved closer to the curbs on either side of the street putting them further away from the train el.

While the construction workers are installing the sewer upgrades, it could have an effect on local businesses and residents.

Workers have already reduced the walking space on certain sidewalks along the construction site.

In addition, work on major streets such as Southern Boulevard will force adjustments to traffic flow.

Mesiti said DDC will maitain two-way traffic running on Southern Boulevard.

“We give 72-hour notices and 24-hour notices every time a construction activity starts that would affect the community,” he said.

Those with concerns can speak directly to community liaison Sonia Quinones, who can be reached at southernblvdccl@gmail.com or (718) 822-0673.

DDC expects to complete the project by the summer of 2019.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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