Friday, April 17, 2015

New York Metro Region Needs An Additional Bridge To Connect Westchester County With New Jersey

Provide Relief to the George Washington Bridge/Trans Manhattan-Cross Bronx Expressway

Upgrade Westchester, N.Y.'s Cross County Parkway & Build A New Trans Hudson Bridge Connecting Yonkers and New Jersey with a northern extension of the New Jersey Turnpike

People have long spoke of the need for additional trans Hudson River crossings in the New York metropolitan region, something north of The George Washington, and south of the Tappan Zee Bridges, with mentions of two options from Westchester County westward to New Jersey: Yonkers, and further north in Hastings on the Hudson.

There is only one east west freeway between the George Washington Bridges I-95 Trans Manhattan-Cross Bronx Expressway and the Tappan Zee's Cross Westchester Expressway, which is the Cross County Parkway, which has its west end in Yonkers, about 1 mile from the Hudson.

The Hastings option would require an all new freeway along the Jackson Avenue corridor at least about 1.5 miles eastward to I-87 and the Sprain Brook Parkway, if not Central Avenue and the Hutchinson River Parkway just to the north of Wilmont Road.

The Yonkers option would require about 1 mile of new approach road construction, plus the option of reconstructing an additional mile or so to a reconstructed improved interchange with I--87 to handle trucks, with an existing Cross County Parkway already connecting to the Bronx River, Sprain and Hutchinson River Parkways the latter which should have its segment to the north reconstructed with at leas one additional lane in each direction.

Both options have the option of connecting in New Jersey to the north-south Palisades Parkway, where there is no east west freeway.  At one time, a western such extension was envisioned.  Steve Anderson's site discusses that - the New Jersey Route 14 Freeway - here.

Because of the lack of such a facility, some have spoke of this as simply a Parkway bridge, merely connecting an extended Cross County Parkway with the Palisades Parkway.

However, even though that latter road could be widened with adding an extra lane in each direction, from 2 to 3 lanes in each  direction, such a crossing would funnel a significant amount of traffic to the Palisades Parkways southern terminus with I-95 right at the I-95 approach to the George Washington Bridge.

And such a plan would do nothing to provide an alternative route for trucks to avoid the heavily used I-95 Trans Manhattan-Cross Bronx Expressway, which is significantly more difficult to add capacity than the parallel routes to the north.

With much of the George Washington Bridge traffic headed either west on I-80 or south on I-95/New Jersey Turnpike, the greater need would be for connecting the new Yonkers-Alpine Bridge to a northern extension from the New Jersey Turnpike.

Thus, it would be best to supplement the Palisades Parkway, with connections to link the new Hudson River Bridge with the New Jersey Turnpike.

Such an idea was once formally proposed, going all the way north to the existing interchange with I-87 in West Nyack near the Tappan Zee Bridge, but was successfully opposed.  Steve Anderson's site discusses both the built New Jersey Turnpike and ts proposed but unbuilt northern extension here.

As such, that facility provides the opportunity for an additional mixed use route that permits trucks, and would thus involve a Westchester County mixed use freeway connection to I-87 whether as an improved western  Cross County Parkway in Yonkers or an all new route further north in Hastings.

The least impactive plan for that would a route taking advantage of the northerly hook of I-95 route, immediately east the northern end of the New Jersey Turnpike, there adding an additional set of carriageways that would flank I-95 for about 1 mile before splitting away to enter a trenchway along the railroad paralleling Nordholf Place.

In order to reduce its local impacts, such should be built largely as a cut and cover tunnel further north along that railroad, coordinated with new development.   About 3 miles to the north of I-95, a drilled tunnel segment would turn easterly towards the Hudson River a bit south of the Tenafly Nature Center where the topography drops, with the roadways there emerging to connect with the new Hudson River Bridge for the Yonkers option, or a bit further north for a Hastings option.  Optionally a cut and cover tunnelway could continue northward to I-287/I-87 at the Nyack Valley Shopping Center.

I have not as of yet seen any old studies upon either a Hastings or a Yonkers Bridge.

However, a Google Earth review of Yonkers, N.Y. shows what appears to be a logical landing area, located immediately inland of the Yonkers Amtrak Station, as marked by a 2 block long north south "Bridge Street" which connects three east-west streets: Knowles Street to the north, Pier Street to the south, and Ludlow Street in the middle.  That very name "Bridge Street" suggests that this is a location where such a bridge has been contemplated.

Such an extension along either side of Ludlow Street would naturally become elevated as the topography drops towards the Hudson River.  Where the topography rises, the freeway could be built either as an open cut or a tunnel for crossing the ridge between downtown Yonkers and the existing Cross County Parkway terminus.

To handle mixed use traffic, thereby allowing a truck bypass of the George Washington Bridge, the western portion of the existing Cross County Parkway would be rebuilt to a newly upgraded interchange with I-87, with such an interchange should be built with fly-under ramps in order to provide superior geometrics with reduced visual and traffic noise impacts.  Such an interchange project would provide the opportunity to permit an additional lane in each direction upon I-87, likewise constructed in stages.  Perhaps such an interchange could be partially covered to provide extra land in the Cross County Parkway Shopping Center area.

The remaining Cross County Parkway meanwhile should be moderately improved bringing it up to at least a continuous minimum 4 lanes in each direction to its split in the Wartburg area of Mt. Vernon.  Likewise, the Hutchinson River Parkway to the north should be brought up to a minimum of 3 lanes in each direction with added stone arch overpasses constructed in northern New Rochelle and Scarsdale. 

A future project could address the Cross County Parkway east of I-87 to upgrade it ultimately to accept mixed use traffic.  Such a project would not only bring its lanes up to a 12 foot wide standard, but also lower the roadbed grade as it passes through central Mount Vernon, and erect a lid atop that trenched segment, and add a tunneled extension to I-95 in New Rochelle just south of the existing toll plaza near New Roch City.

Optionally, this new Hudson River Bridge project could be staged by deferring construction of the New Jersey Turnpike extension, and initially opening it with part of its built capacity.

Another idea would be constructing a spur link in the Riverdale area of the Bronx and south west Yonkers connecting such to the Henry Hudson and Mosholu Parkways.

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1 comment:

Marcus Pearl said...

Could also designate the crossing as an Interstate Highway, either I-80 or an auxiliary route to one of the other highways.