After 94 Years, A New Bridge For Irvington

It has provided passage for countless pedestrians destined for Matthiessen Park and other points on the Westside of the railroad tracks. It has borne the weight of cars and trucks heading west and returning east. Built by the Empire Bridge Company of Elmira, New York in 1913, Irvington’s Bridge Street bridge is finally being retired or, more aptly put, replaced. Its superstructure will be removed while its substructure is rehabilitated to accommodate a new bridge which will be 3 1/2 feet higher than the original. According to Marjorie Anders from the public relations office of Metro-North Railroad, the increased height for the new bridge is necessary to accommodate freight trains.

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Middle: Over the bridge on the way to Matthiessen Park.
Bottom: Visible bridge corrosion.

She mentioned that the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is trying to make the State more "friendly" to commercial freight. The cost for the project is $4,000,000 of which 80% is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and 20% by New York State through the MTA Capital program.

At the time of this writing it was unclear whether Metro-North would meet its closure timetable. The first had been scheduled for Saturday, July 21, from midnight to 7 a.m. The second closure scheduled for Saturday, July 28, is to be followed by another on Sunday, July 29, and Saturday, August 18, all from midnight to 7 a.m. During the first closure a temporary girder will be installed in the middle of the existing roadway and it will be the only vehicular access to the waterfront. During subsequent closures the south half of the bridge will be removed and abutments rebuilt. Lastly, a new pre-cast concrete component will be installed for the south half of the bridge. Work on the north half will be in October and announcements as to future closings are pending.

For the Village of Irvington, the new bridge has been a labor of negotiation with Metro-North and a great deal of internal planning and cooperation among various departments. Mayor Erin Malloy was quick to compliment Village Administrator Larry Schopfer and Recreation’s Joe Archino.This publication also found Ed Ritter to be very helpful as well. The impact of bridge work on the Village of Irvington was evident with the cancellation of the 4th of July fireworks. Public safety has been priority number one and during its scheduled closure, emergency services and personnel will be positioned on the west side of the tracks.

When the new bridge is completed (January 2008) it will provide two 16-foot wide traffic lanes and two sidewalks that are 7 feet 4 inches wide. Its load limit will rise from the current 12-ton limit to 36 tons. In addition, two new staircases will lead from the bridge to the two station platforms. A new retaining wall will be built along Astor and Bridge Streets with the current wrought iron fence being relocated on top of the wall.

Ongoing work for the replacement of the inbound platform, which began in April, is expected to be completed by year’s end. The underpass is also scheduled for rehabilitation later in the summer. The outbound platform has been replaced and is currently in use. The total for the station work is $7,000,000 and completely separate from the cost of the bridge.

As for parking, Metro-North rehabilitated 235 spaces and added an additional 20 parking spaces at the south end of the station. Included in the project were lighting, landscaping, striping, fencing, guardrails and ADA parking spaces.

With access to the waterfront such an integral part of river town life, it appears that Irvington will weather the temporary inconveniences of reconstruction. As with any change, it’s not seamless, rather a work in progress. The Village stands to gain a great deal upon its completion.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento