SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Residents had an opportunity Wednesday night to air their grievances about the Crane Road Bridge project, as county officials met with locals at Scarsdale Village Hall to help assuage misgivings about the three-year project.
After suffering through construction on the Popham Road Bridge for more than a year, most residents were worried about how the changes in traffic patterns would affect local streets. They also asked when the pedestrian walkway under the bridge would reopen to foot traffic.
“We had to close it. We will have heavy pieces of equipment making 27-foot holes so we can work on the sewer. We can’t have people walking around there,” said project manager Kevin Roseman of the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation. “It will reopen when the project is complete and will be paved to the old bridge.”
The four-phase, $39.4 million project calls for a nearly three-year closing of the Pipeline Road exit on the Bronx River Parkway. The plan also will close the exits to Crane Road for a year starting next spring. The county has put off closing the Pipeline Road ramp until next month, when workers begin using it to house equipment. The county is planning to delay the Crane Road closings for as long as possible in phases two and three.
Roseman said that only about 195 vehicles use the Pipeline Road ramp each day, and it is the only place where workers can get access to several important pieces of infrastructure. Motorists will be diverted to Ardsley Road.
“Right now we have to get to the water main that runs under Pipeline Road, and the only way to get access is to put equipment on the ramp,” Roseman said.
While not much is visible from the road, plenty of construction is going on behind the scenes. Phase one of the project, which began last month, is 10 months of mostly preparatory work. To help alleviate the expected traffic delays in phases two through four, Deputy Village Manager Steve Pappalardo said, officials expect the Popham Road Bridge construction to be complete, giving five more lanes for motorists.
“We’re 13 months behind on the Popham Road Bridge, so we’re hoping that will be finished by the end of the calendar year,” he said. “With the Crane Road exits being maintained open for the first 10 months of the project, we think the impact will be minimal. The bridge should be open before they block their exits. We’ll have a new five-lane road for better traffic circulation and getting back and forth.”
Local business owners expressed concerns that the project has a schedule that is heavy with night and weekend construction and lane closings. Former Mayor Carolyn Stevens raised that point to the village board, worried that the business district may lose a crippling number of patrons during the extended construction.
“Eighteen months having the southbound exit closed is like a death nail for the village center,” she said. “Come November and December, that’s when most people are coming in to do their shopping. How can they get there?”
Prompted by several proprietors' complaints, Scarsdale Mayor Miriam Levitt-Flisser and county Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco agreed to revisit the plan to see if any revisions could be made to aid local business. Starting Tuesday, local business owners may have noticed the first impact of the project. The contractor set some equipment up to be staged in the merchants parking lot as construction nears.