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Legislators: Rivertowns Infrastructure Needs Help Now

Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky and Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins are asking for action on several already approved bridge and road repair projects in Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown and Yonkers.

Though the New York State Department of Transportation has deemed the Warburton Avenue Bridge in Hastings-on-Hudson to be “in need of serious repair,” with a 4.5 out of 7 rating, approved work on the bridge has yet to commence.

Though the design is complete and construction is scheduled for spring 2013, pre-construction meetings have not been scheduled with the season change less than a week away.

“This bridge has structural problems that need addressing now, before more extensive work is required because of the passage of time and further neglect,” said Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky. “And safety issues with the bridge on Warburton Avenue, including the lack of a suicide prevention screen, as well as low railings and crumbling sidewalks, put people on the bridge and those underneath it at risk.”

Shimsky doesn’t want this bridge to “turn into a second Ashford Avenue Bridge,”—another dilapidated structure in the Rivertowns, scheduled for a $23 million renovation—so she and Westchester County Board of Legislator Chairman Ken Jenkins are asking the County Executive for action on the two bridges and a number of already approved capital projects. 

Some of the projects—aimed at providing repairs and upgrades to sewage and storm water facilities, as well as to bridges, roadways and recreation areas in Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown and Yonkers—have already gone through the design phase and were approved as far back as 2009, while others were recently approved.

Shimsky said the Ashford Avenue Bridge, located on the Dobbs Ferry/Ardsley border, is a perfect example of how further delaying these projects are putting residents at risk and costing taxpayers money.  

The legislators criticized Rob Astorino for putting the project on hold in 2010 and pushing construction off until 2015, since chunks of concrete fell from the bridge in June 2012 damaging six cars and thankfully causing no injuries. The thruway had to be temporarily closed and about $1 million in temporary repairs and pier stabilization repairs had to be made, the legislators said.

Though the board of legislators approved more than $5 million to the capital projects budget for the Ardsley Road and Warburton Avenue projects only some of the money was spent, according to the legislators. They said other projects from 2011 like water main repair in Tarrytown, and pump station and other work for a Yonkers water treatment plant are being stalled because of lack of information.

Jenkins said that even less significant projects—like golf cart rehabilitation at Sprain Lake Golf Course and park renovations along the Hudson River that were approved last summer—are still critical to Westchester. 

“Infrastructure is much more than safety and jobs, it’s economic development,” said Jenkins. “Businesses cannot function, and people cannot get to work, without roads and bridges. So, it’s hard to justify such slow action on infrastructure repair and replacement projects, no matter what. The administration needs to explain why so many of these approved projects are moving at a snail’s pace—projects that will add over 11,000 much needed jobs to Westchester.”

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