The recently announced delayed reopening of the Buhre and Zerega #6 IRT stations has many in the community feeling ‘deep sixed’.
“We have been having ongoing discussions with the MTA about finding ways to help make the construction project tolerable for the community. Unfortunately it is true that there is a delay,” stated Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.
According to Assemblyman Benedetto, workers discovered an unexpected problem while rebuilding the Buhre Avenue station’s platform. Upon opening it, they discovered that the structural steel underneath was severely decayed. This meant additional work was required and new steel needed to be fabricated.
“The MTA assured me that they will be pushing the contractor to have it completed in time,” the assemblyman explained. “They’re getting the project done and they will have it done the right way.”
Amanda Kwan, MTA media liaison, divulged that the MTA met with a few council members on the morning of Tuesday, February 17, to brief them on the project’s present status.
“The MTA is working to complete the station renewal project as quickly as possible. We regret the inconvenience of the delay, which is due to an unexpected deterioration of the steel structures at these stations that opened in 1920. We appreciate our customers’ patience while we complete these important projects, which will provide safe and reliable service,” Kwan said.
Originally slated for completion this past Monday, February 16, the rehabilitation effort has now been extended until the middle of May.
“This is unacceptable,” Councilman James Vacca expressed.
“Residents and merchants alike have put up with a lot, both with parking inconveniences and traveling concerns especially now during one of the coldest winters in years. The MTA promised they will have it ready by mid-May,” he added.
The councilman hoped the MTA would abide by the new timetable and has proposed having the Buhre Avenue station reopen while renovation continues.
“While I commend the MTA for improving service and making much-needed repairs on the 6 line at Buhre and Zerega avenues, the construction at these stations must be completed as soon as possible. Riders in the Bronx expected train service to be up and running this past Monday, however delays throughout the project have pushed it back an additional four to six weeks,” stated Senator Jeff Klein.
Kenneth Kearns, Community Board 10 district manager, said an agreement was reached two months ago between the MTA, Yonkers Construction Company, Inc., and the Westchester Avenue merchants to have available parking on Pilgrim Avenue for the duration of the construction contract.
Assemblyman Bendetto confirmed this area will continue to remain free of construction materials as work resumes.
He added that the Department of Transportation will be installing muni meters on Pilgrim Avenue to open additional parking.
Due to the renovations the Middletown Road or Pelham Bay Park stations can be utilized in lieu of Buhre Avenue.
Both the Bx8 and Bx24 buses provide connecting service between Buhre Avenue and Middletown Road or Pelham Bay Park.
For Zerega Avenue, the Castle Hill Avenue and Parkchester stations can be used instead as well as the Bx4 bus which provides service between all three stops.
Shuttle buses run during rush hours and late nights and operate between Pelham Bay Park and Castle Hill Avenue stopping at Buhre Avenue, Middletown Road, Westchester Square, and Zerega Avenue.