Parks Department: City Hopes to Complete High Bridge Rehab This Year

Last year Mayor Bloomberg announced that the long-awaited restoration of the car-free High Bridge would be completed “by 2014.” Work began soon after, and the Parks Department tells Streetsblog the rehab is slated to wrap before the year is over.

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickw/1547790890/##Rick Weller/Flickr##
Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickw/1547790890/##Rick Weller/Flickr##

“While we estimate that the construction will be completed in December of this year, we are exploring every opportunity to expedite the project,” Parks spokesperson Phil Abramson said via email. “DDC and Parks are working closely with the contractor to finish the project as quickly as possible and we look forward to the day that New Yorkers will once again walk and bicycle over our City’s oldest bridge.”

The High Bridge connects the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx with Washington Heights. Built as part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848, it stopped carrying water in 1958, and was closed to the public in 1970. The city secured funding for its restoration seven years ago, and in 2010 awarded a design contract. Bloomberg joined Upper Manhattan electeds for a groundbreaking ceremony in January 2013.

The restored bridge will have new ADA-compliant access ramps. While bike riding will be permitted on the bridge itself, the ramps are considered too narrow for shared use, and cyclists will be directed to take stairs at each end. An eight-foot safety fence will be installed atop the bridge, which Parks says will be designed to minimize disruption of views.

Still at issue is how many hours per week the bridge will be open to commuters and other users. As of 2013, Parks said it will likely be closed at night, when the parks at each end are closed. Highbridge Park in the Bronx is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and park hours on the Manhattan side are a bit longer.

Project coordinator Ellen Macnow told Streetsblog last year that use of the bridge “will be closely monitored and hours will be adjusted if needed.” Other bikeways run by the Parks Department have had problems with limited or inconvenient access.

Operating hours for the High Bridge “have not yet been determined,” said Abramson.

  • For all the latest information on the progress with the developments at the High Bridge and the surrounding areas see highbridgeparkdevelopment.blogspot.com

  • AnoNYC

    Good news.

  • Kevin Love

    I think that we should shut down New York’s bridges for cars at 10:00 PM every night.

  • I commute between Manhattan and the Bronx every day on the nearby Washington (181st St) Bridge, which has unsatisfactorily narrow paths, but the High Bridge is too far out of the way for me. The bridge doesn’t go to the top of the escarpment on either side of the river, so coming West you have to climb about eighty stairs to get to the pool level from the bridge level, or else take the ADA detour to 166th St.

    I asked the Parks reps about completing the mid-level path from below the Washington Bridge to the High Bridge, and they made pleasant noises about it at the time. That would make it easier.

  • Matthias

    Come on, an eight foot fence?

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