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BY COLIN MIXSON
An over-cost, long-delayed pedestrian bridge spanning the West Side Highway has suffered yet another setback, outraging locals who have waited more than 14-years for the crossing.
“It’s very troubling,” said Anthony Notaro, chairman of Community Board 1. “This is a more than 10-year-old project that’s already been delayed a couple times. We thought it was finally going to happen, so this latest news is very distressing.”
The delay on the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge is being blamed on a subcontractor for construction company Skanska USA, which had botched welds that the city discovered could dramatically shorten the span’s expected 75-year lifespan, according to Shavone Williams, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation, which is spearheading the project.
That subcontracted fabricator has been replaced, according to Williams, but she couldn’t say how long it would take for the new builder to reconstruct the faulty portions of the bridge.
“We instructed our contractors to take the steps and time necessary to refabricate components of the bridge, and we look forward to seeing the work completed as quickly as possible,” she said.
Williams said that no additional cost are expected as a result of the delay and refabrications, but locals are skeptical, given the bridge’s history, which saw its original $18 million budget balloon to its current cost of $45.1 million — amounting to more than $190,000 a foot.
“I’m quite concerned about cost overruns,” said Tammy Meltzer, chairwoman of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee. “How much more are we paying because of this?”
The West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge is planned as a permanent replacement for the temporary Rector Street Pedestrian Bridge, which was hastily erected in 2002 to provide a crossing over the busy thruway following the destruction of two West Street spans in the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Rector Street bridge has already been in use for 14 years beyond its original expected lifespan.
The new bridge will span the intersection of West and West Thames streets, diagonally across from the northeast corner to the southwest.