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Westchester Legislator Pushes Ashford Avenue Bridge Fix

County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky is calling for the work on the Ashford Avenue Bridge to be expedited.
County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky is calling for the work on the Ashford Avenue Bridge to be expedited. Photo Credit: Daily Voice

ARDSLEY, N.Y. -- As plans to repair of the Ashford Avenue Bridge move forward, Westchester Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, D-Hastings-on-Hudson, hopes to see work on the busy bridge expedited.

Shimsky, who is chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Infrastructure Committee, was pleased that the final piece of bonding authorization is in place for the repair of the busy bridge that connects Dobbs Ferry and Ardsley, and is an access to and exit from the Saw Mill River Parkway.

In June 2012, several pieces of concrete from the bridge fell onto the New York State Thruway, damaging six vehicles. A chunk of concrete fell from the bridge the previous year onto a grassy area near the Thruway. No one was injured, and the county later put up netting and planking to catch more falling debris.

Work on the bridge began in October 2012, continued last year and has been pending while the winter has led to more decay. On Friday morning, April 11, an eastbound lane on the bridge was closed for emergency repair work and inspection.

“I’m grateful that my colleagues on the board understand the necessity of moving quickly on the Ashford Avenue Bridge project,” said Shimsky. “Because of years of past neglect, the concrete on the bridge is crumbling at an accelerated pace, so we need to begin work as soon as possible.”

Shimsky called on all involved parties to complete the necessary reviews and allow for the start of construction as quickly as possible.

The Board of Legislators unanimously approved a bond act earlier this week (April 9) that authorizes funding for the repairs to the bridge, which is the worst-ranked county-owned bridge in terms of structural safety. The legislation now awaits the final approval of County Executive Rob Astorino.

The county board released a statement Friday stating that Shimsky communicated with the state Department of Transportation in January and asked for "quicker-than-the-usual" action because one of the bridge’s expansion joints failed and was plated over, with more deterioration expected over the winter.

The new bonding legislation authorizes a total of $9,978,000 of bonds to finance the partial reconstruction of the existing 405-foot-long bridge over Interstate 87 and the Saw Mill River Parkway. The total cost includes $1.1 million in bonds authorized in 2007 for design of the bridge reconstruction project. The overall project will also receive an additional $6,762,000, the cost shared by the Federal Highway Administration, New York state and several utility companies for the relocation of utilities during the project.

“I’m urging the state and Astorino administration to work together and get this bridge fixed,” Shimsky said. “Waiting till next year to start the work is making a lot of people nervous.”

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