After a year’s worth of construction, the transformation of the Sheridan Expressway into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard is now complete.
Governor Cuomo held a press conference at the Casita Maria for the Arts and Education at 928 Simpson Street to announce the completion of the Sheridan Expressway project on Thursday, December 12.
“Fifty years later, we’re doing it,” Cuomo said in the press conference. “The Sheridan Expressway is opened up, giving back beautiful greenspace to the Bronx River.” “We’re going to spend money to restore the Bronx River back to what it should be and clean up the Bronx River.”
The $75 million dollar project began in October of 2018 and reconnected a section of the Bronx to Starlight Park and the Bronx River.
Previously, the expressway cut right through the area and was not accessible to the public and expedited the pollution to the river and the surrounding areas with heavy industrial traffic.
Cuomo briefly outlined the history behind how the Sheridan came to be and why, laying the emphasis on its key role of creating access to Manhattan (the inner borough).
“Everything was about how do you get to Manhattan,” In the Bronx, the Cross Bronx Expressway they built literally cut the Bronx in two – the Bruckner, the Sheridan Expressway,” Cuomo said. “The Sheridan Expressway, they built the road between the community and the water. Why? Because it was easy to run the highway next to the water. Yes, but what you [do] is you cut the community off from the waterfront.”
Cuomo said the Sheridan Boulevard project is just one piece of a $1.8 million transformation plan for the south Bronx.
The next project on the drawing board, according to Cuomo, is reconstructing the interchange between the Bruckner Expressway and the newly redefined Sheridan Boulevard that will alleviate truck traffic and access to Hunts Point Market. The redesign is expected to cost $598 million.
Phase one of the Hunts Point project will entail constructing new highway ramps to Edgewater Road, replacing bridges and improving the flow of the Bruckner Boulevard and Hunts Point Avenue intersection.
NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Governor Cuomo is working to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers by literally connecting communities – making them more accessible to green space, livable and easier to navigate, all while promoting economic growth. This initiative will reduce congestion and enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the south Bronx, improving access to the Hunts Point Market, drawing the community together and connecting it with the Bronx River and local parks.”
Other improvements included in the project are transforming the currently overgrown Garrison Park and building a shared use path between Concrete Plant Park and Garrison Park.
The governor emphasized the effort to cut down the amount of truck traffic in the area and its effect on the public’s health.
The Hunts Point portion of the work is currently underway according to NYS DOT with an expected completion date of fall 2020.