WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Sen. George Latimer is urging New York State to urgently allocate funding in the 2015-16 state budget for bridge repairs on a series of bridges in Westchester County that span the Metro-North New Haven line.
Latimer noted that tonnage limits have been dropped to as low as three tons on bridges that were otherwise designed for much heavier usage.
"The lower tonnage capacities make these bridges unusable for emergency responders, and there is always a jeopardy that a more circuitous route to an emergency could allow for a tragedy to occur," Latimer said explaining the request. "Bridges that cannot sustain commercial truck traffic weight are not safe for fire vehicles, sanitation trucks, utility trucks from Con Ed and Verizon, and similar equipment."
In a letter to state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, Latimer highlighted six Sound Shore Bridges: Centre Avenue Bridge in New Rochelle, Chatsworth Avenue Bridge in the Town of Mamaroneck, Hillside Avenue Bridge in the Village of Mamaroneck, West Street and Broadway Bridges in Harrison and the Central Avenue Bridge in Rye.
Noting funding restrictions, Latimer said he believed that these projects warranted priority attention due to greater deterioration of the structures.
"There is currently a major project under way on the North Barry Avenue Bridge in Mamaroneck that was prioritized based on the same needs that these other structures have. I was glad to see that structure will be improved and hope to see a similar resolution for some of our other safety and infrastructure needs in the area."
Latimer requested copies of the most recent bridge inspections performed by the Transportation Department on these bridges to help determine which projects are in the greatest need of repairs.
"I expect that the DOT's inspections have highlighted bridge deficiencies that require Metro-North capital improvements. As we are now debating the 2015-16 State Budget this is the critical time to determine whether money should be urgently allocated by the State to bridge repairs," concluded Latimer.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.