With the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge set to turn 70 next year, the MTA has announced that it has awarded a $192.8 million contract to rebuild the entire Bronx approach to the bridge. Residents in the Ferry Point community wondered what impact, if any, this would have on the neighborhood.
The four-year project, which was announced on December 1, is divided into three stages, and will widen the roadway and supporting structure of the Bronx approach.
Construction will commence by the end of 2008, and a lane-closure period will begin in early to mid-2010. At no point during the reconstruction will there be less than five plaza lanes of traffic open during rush hour. The entire existing roadway of the Bronx side of the bridge will be completely replaced.
Ferry Point residents hope the roadways around Ferry Point Park and the future golf course, which are maintained by the MTA, will be upgraded as part of the bridge enhancement.
“According to my sources, the MTA property extends 10 feet in either direction from the base of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and also includes all roads under the body of the bridge,” said Dotti Poggi of the Ferry Point Community Advocates and Friends of Ferry Point Park. “We would like to see a direct entrance from the new Pepsi Plant onto the Hutchinson River Parkway near the toll plaza, as well as the MTA fixing its portion of the unnamed ‘loop road’ running underneath the bridge.”
While the MTA has indicated no plans to address the community’s wishes, what the agency has committed to is a completely new structure for the entire 1785-foot long Bronx approach to the bridge including foundations and 15 double-arched concrete piers to support the widened roadway, constructed of steel girders and concrete deck.
Included in the improvements is an upgrade that will widen the roadway to 12 lanes with adequate shoulders– a major improvement of the existing circa-1930s narrow-width roadways.
The construction work will be untaken by Conti of New York, LLC. MTA has said it is committed to working with local leaders and elected officials to keep the lines of communication open about the project.
“We will continue our practice of reaching out to local elected officials and community groups to keep residents informed, and alert them in advance to planned lane closures,” stated Ray Webb, general manager of the bridge.
Meanwhile, Poggi feels that it would be a good time to bring the long-standing grievances of the Ferry Point community to the MTA, as well as the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and Department of Parks and Recreation.
“I definitely would like to see Community Board 10 have a meeting about this construction,” Poggi said.