Scarsdale residents and community members had the opportunity to learn about the at a Village Board of Trustees public meeting Wednesday. Attendees asked questions expressing their concerns for changes in local traffic patterns, nighttime work, and lane closures.
Kevin Roseman of the Westchester County Department of Works and Transportation began the meeting with a brief overview of the four-phase project.
The $39.4 million project will replace the 1924 bridge with a wider, straighter bridge and is projected to finish in April 2015, he said. The current bridge has four, nine-foot lanes with no shoulders; the new bridge will have four, 11-foot travel lanes and a two-foot left shoulder and four-foot right shoulder. The new bridge will also include a northbound deceleration lane and a pedestrian crosswalk.
Mayor Miriam Levitt Flisser said it will “be a real positive for people who walk to the station.”
During the first stage of the project, scheduled to take approximately 10 months, workers will construct three concrete piers. There will be an estimated 107 trees taken down and part of the merchants’ parking lot in Scarsdale will be used for construction equipment during this stage.
The county has already begun the first stage, but will wait for the completion of the Popham Road bridge, a project which is now 13 months behind schedule, before major construction on the Crane Road bridge begins.
The Pipeline Road entrance to the southbound Bronx River Parkway will be closed and will not re-open until the Crane Road project is completed. The county will close the entrance next month, said Roseman.
The second stage, expected to take approximately six months, includes the construction of two concrete piers. Both northbound and southbound Bronx River Parkway exits to Crane Road will be closed. There will be one northbound lane on the Bronx River Parkway with no traffic signals and two southbound lanes.
In the third stage, which will last approximately six months, both northbound and southbound Bronx River Parkway exits to Crane Road will remain closed, and there will be one northbound lane on the Bronx River Parkway with no signal and one southbound lane.
The Crane Road closings in stages two and three will be delayed for as long as possible, Roseman reassured residents.
The final and fourth stage, expected to take approximately 12 months, will include the completion of the mushroom bridge and deconstruction of the existing bridge. The ramp closures of the third stage will remain the same.
Roseman also explained the detours: there will be limited Bronx River Parkway midday closures (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and vehicles will be redirected from Harney Road to Crane Road through Scarsdale Avenue and the East Parkway during this time. There will also be night and weekend Bronx River Parkway closures (10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday) and vehicles will take the Sprain Brook Parkway and Rt. 100 to County Center during this time.
To ensure productivity, Roseman explained there will be a bonus for workers if they finish early and a penalty if they finish late.
After Rosenman’s overview of the project, residents and members of the Board of Trustees were given time for questions.
Many residents were concerned about the one, northbound lane on the Bronx River Parkway with no signal light during the third and fourth stages.
One resident suggested changing signal patterns where a light is open during rush hour, but closed during non rush hours, to which Roseman responded, “We don’t want to confuse vehicles. Drivers shouldn’t have to think too hard when they’re going 40 or 50 miles an hour on the parkway.”
Other residents, especially those who live close to the construction, were concerned about nighttime work.
“What percent of the construction will happen at night?” one resident asked. “I remember there was once temporary construction and when they worked at night we could barely sleep.”
Roseman said he did not know the percentage of nighttime work, and Deputy Village Manager Steve Pappalardo explained that “the MTA dictates when work can be done for this project. We are not allowed to work during peak times, so there may be more nighttime work needed.”
Local business owners spoke about weekend lane closures in their district. One resident said Saturday’s are the busiest time in the business district and multiple lane closures then would be “devastating.”
Former Mayor Carolyn Stevens also expressed a similar concern.
“Eighteen months having the southbound exit closed is like a death nail for the village center,” Stevens said. “Come November and December, that’s when most people are coming in to do their shopping. How can they get there?”
Scarsdale Mayor Miriam Levitt-Flisser and county Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco concluded the meeting by agreeing to revisit the plan to address the community’s concerns.