Bridge repair nears finish

By ASHLEY HELMS

A beleaguered bridge project will soon be complete and residents will be able to get from point A to point B much more easily in the Village of Mamaroneck.

The Jefferson Avenue Bridge project is slated to be completed by Friday, Dec. 20 at the latest, according to village officials, and trucks have been delivering large sections of the bridge since earlier last week.

Work on the Jefferson Avenue Bridge is slated to be completed by Friday, Dec. 20 at the latest, according to village officials. Large sections of the bridge are being delivered, but snow partially delayed some deliveries and installation. Photo/Ashley Helms

Work on the Jefferson Avenue Bridge is slated to be completed by Friday, Dec. 20 at the latest, according to village officials. Large sections of the bridge are being delivered, but snow partially delayed some deliveries and installation. Photo/Ashley Helms

Snowfall that hit the area last week, along with logistical issues, caused a delay in the delivery and installation of the bridge parts, Village Manager Richard Slingerland said. The bridge’s installation process is set to begin on Thursday, Dec. 19.

The 140-ton sections of the structure can only be delivered to Mamaroneck by way of the George Washington Bridge or Bear Mountain Bridge routes, which required the village to coordinate carefully with state police and the New York State Thruway Authority. The bridge’s parts are being transported from Jersey Precast, an engineering, design and manufacturing company based in New Jersey.

The bridge was delivered in pieces that exceed 100 feet in length, according to the village manager.

The project was funded in part by a $400,000 grant from the New York State Capital Assistance Program.

“They need to get all six panels, then they drop them into place,” Slingerland said. “Any logistical issues like cranes getting held up could run it into Friday.”

The bridge was closed in September 2012 to increase space between the base of the bridge and the Mamaroneck River in order to help mitigate flooding issues in the area. Debris collection around the center support of the bridge caused water levels to rise significantly during heavy rains, village officials said.

Before its reconstruction, the Village of Mamaroneck and the Town of Rye were locked in a legal battle over who was responsible for the project, as the bridge links the two municipalities via Rye Neck, which exists in both. The case ended with the cost being split by the two communities.

Originally anticipated as a 10-month construction phase, the $4.2 million project, of which the village is responsible for approximately $2.1 million, ran months behind schedule after the project contractor, The Arben Group, accidentally broke a 21-inch sewer line at the construction site in March.

The broken pipe, which sat in close proximity to the Mamaroneck Riverwhich flows into the Long Island Sound caused three million gallons of raw sewage to leak into the waterway, drawing considerable criticism from the community.

The sewage amount was estimated using the sewage flow and size of the pipe, according to village officials.

Because of the break, the village was ordered to pay a $17,000 fine to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The break was temporarily repaired by the installation of a generator and two pipes leading into the sewer cap over where the break occurred.

Other project roadblocks included the village having to remove 6,000 cubic yards of silt from the Mamaroneck River so the bridge’s abutments would be able to securely support the structure, Slingerland said. If the silt hadn’t been removed, there would have been a risk that the abutments would have sunk into the river.

“You’re talking approximately 300 truck loads of stuff that had to be taken away,” he said.

Some residents, including those who live near the construction site, criticized the village for the length of the project, water quality issues from the sewer line break and what they claim is an overall lack of transparency in regards to the project’s timeline.

Stuart Tiekert, a village resident who has been critical of the project, said he saw one section of the bridge heading toward Mamaroneck on Interstate 95, but that is all the progress he has seen so far. He said the bridge should have been finished already and is looking forward to being able to utilize it again instead of having to drive out of his way to get through the village.

Contact: ashley@hometwn.com