Westchester County residents upset over 3-year bridge replacement project

ARDSLEY (WABC) -- Residents in Westchester County are about to get an inside look at watching how their money is spent as work begins to replace a bridge.

The $18 million structure will take three years to build as it spans the New York Thruway and Saw Mill River Parkway, and web cams will allow taxpayers to watch it all.

The project is long overdue, with construction now underway on the Ashford Avenue Bridge that was previously rated by the state as the worst structurally in all of the county.

But as with any project, there are traffic concerns for residents and businesses.

"People are not going to want to come this way," deli owner Anthony Russo said. "They're going to spend 20 minutes in traffic, they're going to go somewhere else."

Many expect the construction will interfere with their daily commutes.

"This is a major road for all the river towns and for people all over the river towns trying to get to the highways and also trying to get to central Westchester," Dobbs Ferry resident Michelle Spiniello said.

When completed, the bridge will connect Dobbs Ferry and Ardsley, and aleady, the northbound entrance and exit ramps to the Saw Mill have been closed. And soon, temporary lane closures will become permanent, limiting traffic to one lane in each direction.

Ambulances will be equipped with special devices.

"So when they're on a call to the hospital, they could change the traffic light to try and ease congestion," Ardsley Police Chief Emil Califano said. "But I think it's still going to be a challenge."

Another concern is the expected three-year duration of the project.

"It shouldn't take, what, three years?" deli owner Angela Sinnott said. "It's ridiculous. The Tappan Zee Bridge is probably going to be built before that."

Officials say the project involves completely dismantling and rebuilding the bridge in three stages, while keeping it open to traffic.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner says web cams will be installed to give residents a real-time view of congestion, and perhaps even make contractors work a little faster.

"They're going to know that the community is watching," he said. "Many times, with government jobs, nobody watches. And that's why people get ripped off."

The work is expected to wrap up in 2018, but with other commercial and residential development in the works, the next few years could be a rough road for residents.
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