Here are some frequently asked questions about the Ashford Avenue Bridge.
Q. Who is responsible for maintenance of the bridge?
A. The Ashford Avenue Bridge is owned by the county of Westchester and is the responsibility of the county's Department of Public Works and Transportation.
Q. Is the bridge safe?
A. The bridge is safe. The County’s $1.5 million stabilization project which begun in 2012 allowed the bridge to safely function until the current rehabilitation project commenced. The bridge will be monitored throughout the current rehabilitation project in order to maintain safety until all construction is complete. If the County determined at any time that the bridge were not safe, it would be closed immediately and would not reopen until it was deemed to be safe.
Q. Are the roads below the bridge safe?
A. The roads below the bridge are safe. If at any time the County determined that this were not the case, it would notify the appropriate state agencies that could close the road.
Q. Are inspections taking place?
A. Now that construction has commenced, the bridge is under near constant observation.
Q. What is involved with the project?
A. Although called Rehabilitation, the Ashford Avenue Bridge Project is nearly a full replacement project that involves many elaborate tasks that are designed to protect the tax payers, the travelling public, abutting property owners, local municipalities and other agencies. This project involves the replacement and installation of new structural steel, roadway decking, support piers, footings, traffic signals, sidewalks, bridge rails and other related work.
Q. When will construction begin on the long-term project to rehabilitate the bridge and when it be completed?
A. Rehabilitation of the bridge began in January 2016 and will be completed in September 2018.
Q. What is the cost of the project?
A. The total cost for the project is approximately $23.5 million. This includes the design, construction, inspection and other project-related tasks. Of this, the federal government is providing $8.3 million, the state $1.2 million and the county providing the remaining $14.0 million through bonding.
Q. What is the status of that project?
A. Construction has commenced and the project is in what is called the Pre-stage with construction activities focused on relocation of utilities and demolition of the northbound entrance and exit ramps
Q. How many vehicles cross the bridge and pass below it?
A. Approximately 125,000 vehicles a day cross over or under the bridge with 20,000 on Ashford Avenue, 38,000 on the Saw Mill River Parkway, 66,000 on the New York State Thruway and a few hundred on Elm Street. There are also numerous pedestrians crossing on Ashford Avenue as well as pedestrians and bicyclists passing below on the South County Trailway.
Q. Will there be traffic congestion during construction?
A. Unfortunately, the scope and scale of the project is such that it is virtually impossible to not adversely affect the already congested area. By carefully staging the construction and employing precast structural systems to the maximum extent possible we have, however, reduced the duration of construction to the absolute limit that can be accomplished within the constraints of this project.
Q. Are any utilities affected by the project?
A. On Elm Street, beneath the bridge, overhead Con Edison, Verizon and Cablevision wires have been relocated underground during the Pre-Stage in early 2016. On Ashford Avenue the relocation of buried Verizon, Fibertech and Cablevision lines is more complicated. These utilities run beneath the north sidewalk of the current bridge and must be relocated to the new span that will be constructed on the south half of Ashford Avenue during Stage 1 before Stage 2 demolition can commence. Preparation for these relocations accomplished in the Pre-Stage where underground conduits are placed along and across Ashford Avenue so the utilities can be relocated in the later stages of Stage 1 without impacting vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
Q. Why isn’t the bridge closed during construction?
A. Ashford Avenue is a critical east-west corridor and there are few alternate routes that could accommodate all of the traffic. This alternative was thoroughly explored during the planning and design stages.
Q. Why will the project take almost 3 years to complete?
A. The main structure is over 400 feet long and consists of 6 spans which can be thought of as small bridges. The ramp structure consists of an additional 3 spans and is over 150 feet long. Just about every portion of all these 9 spans is being replaced both above and below the ground, while traffic flow is being maintained. Constructing a project of this size and complexity while maintaining safe passage for people and goods through the work zone, without closing the major roadways affected, has dictated a construction period of almost 3 years
Q. Would the use of prefabricated materials speed construction?
A. Yes and they are being used for the major structural components of the project. Each of the main structural spans will consist of 6 Prefabricated Precast Precompressed Concrete/Steel Composite Superstructure Units that will be made off-site under controlled conditions and trucked to the bridge for installation. The ramp will be replaced with prefabricated wall units to speed construction and reduce costs.
Q. Is private property being affected; there are buildings on all 4 corners of the bridge?
A. Although a paving and excavation company had to be temporarily relocated from directly beneath the bridge on Elm Street, no permanent structures or property takings are taking place.
Q. What are the work hours?
A. Unless specific night time activity related to removal or installation of structural steel is occurring the primary work hours are weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Q. Will any of the work be done at night?
A. Tremendous thought and effort has gone into minimizing the amount of disruption and disturbance to local residents and businesses as well as the traveling public throughout construction. Unfortunately, the work involves replacement of the entire superstructure over the New York State Thruway and the Saw Mill River Parkway. This mandates that a small portion of the overall work, steel beam removal and installation, must be performed at night as this is the only period that closure/stoppages of traffic on these major roads is permitted by the respective agencies in charge.
Q. Why can’t all the work be done at night?
A. While this would lessen traffic impacts there are many nearby residents what would be affected. Only work that cannot be allowed during the day will occur at night.
Q. I use the Saw Mill Parkway on a daily basis, will my travel be affected?
A. During the day, single lane closures on the Saw Mill Parkway, as determined by the facility owner, NYSDOT, can only occur between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM in the northbound direction and 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM in the southbound direction.
Q. I use the New York State Thruway on a daily basis, will by travel be affected?
A. During the day lane single lane closures on the New York State Thruway, as determined by the facility owner, the NYS Thruway Authority can only during hours where there will be no impact on traffic flow. Double lane closures are not permitted during the day
Q. What will happen to traffic flow on the Saw Mill River Parkway when steel beams are being removed or installed?
A. The Saw Mill River Parkway should only be affected by the installation and removal of steel on Span 1. During this overnight work above the Saw Mill River Parkway, one direction of the Parkway will be closed and the other direction reduced to one lane with brief 15 minute stoppages of traffic while the steel beams are being lifted by a large crane.
Q. What will happen to traffic flow on the New York State Thruway when steel beams are being removed or installed?
A. During overnight lifting operations affecting Span 5 over the southbound New York State Thruway or Span 6 over the northbound New York State Thruway, two lanes will be closed in one or both directions with brief 15 minutes stoppages of traffic while steel beams are being lifted by a large crane.
Q. How can I be kept updated about the project?
A. The project web site (www.westchestergov.com/ashfordavenuebridge) will be updated on a continuing basis and you can sign up for special email alerts on this project at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe (Ashford Avenue Bridge QuickNews).
If you are seeking additional information about the bridge or would like to share your comments regarding the project, complete our comment form.