That feeling of déjà vu that might come from hearing Westchester County’s announcement that the Fulton Avenue Drawbridge was closed to vehicles this morning is understandable.
It was just a little more than a month ago that the county bridge, which crosses the Hutchinson River and connects Pelham Manor to Mount Vernon, was closed for emergency repairs. Pedestrians can still cross the bridge when it’s lowered.
Traffic will be detoured down Columbus Avenue in Mount Vernon to South Third Street; onto Provost Avenue, in the Bronx; onto Boston Post Road and back to Pelham Manor. The reverse order will apply going from Pelham Manor to Mount Vernon. A live stream of the Fulton Avenue Bridge can be found here.
“We know this is a major inconvenience for people who live in the area as well as merchants,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “We will do everything possible to expedite this repair, but safety must come first.”
County officials closed the bridge after the state Department of Transportation issued a notice today stating that “prompt interim action” needed to be taken for bridge repairs. The notice was sent after state officials said they found severe deterioration to several steel beams on the bridge during an inspection that took place Aug. 29 -30.
Prior to this, the 40-year-old bridge was closed June 13 due to electrical problems with the drives that open and close it. The bridge was reopened on July 23 after $131,000 in emergency repairs were made.
County officials had realized that the bridge needed major work, even before the state made its announcement and they were in the middle of completing design plans for a $4 million renovation project.
The project once approved, would involve the removal and replacement of the concrete deck and sidewalks of the approach, as well as replacement of deteriorated structural steel and concrete members. The bridge will be painted and various electrical and mechanical components will be upgraded.
It is unclear Wednesday how the state Department of Transportation’s findings will impact the county’s timeline for making more extensive bridge repairs.