Posted on: November 2, 2023
STATEMENT ON WAVERLY AVENUE BRIDGE made at TOWN BOARD MEETING, 11/1/2023
The NYSDOT has identified the Waverly Avenue Bridge as being structurally deficient.
Engineering consultants retained by the Town recommended, for public safety, that the bridge be rebuilt and, for flood mitigation purposes, that it be widened at the same time, as the bridge is located at a constriction point that exacerbates flooding. This is consistent with the Army Corp of Engineers Flood Risk Management Report Recommendations for the Sheldrake River.
The Town, as the owner of the Bridge, is undertaking a $4.54 million project to replace the Bridge.
The Town’s contractor commenced work on October 20, 2023, by installing the necessary barricades at the Bridge. The Village has, without permission of the Town, removed the barricades and directed our contractor not to continue work unless their demand that the Town commit to reimbursing up to $728,000 to the Village for police overtime for traffic control is satisfied. The amount appears out of line and unjustified, and an unreasonable burden which will be borne by all taxpayers of the Town of Mamaroneck, including the residents of both Villages.
The Village had four years prior to the commencement of the project on October 20, 2023 to address the issue of police staffing for the regulation of traffic, but they said nothing.
Here is the timeline. Four years ago, commencing in November 2019, monthly design meetings were held with our consultant, HVEA Engineers. Village representatives were present at most of these monthly meetings. Starting on July 7, 2023, the Town held bi-weekly pre-construction meetings with our Contractor. Members of the staff of the Village were always present. The Village actively participated in the meetings, commenting on issues such as signage, pavement markings, and other prep work. The issue of the Town paying for police was never raised at the meetings. The Village issued a Road Opening permit to the Town for the construction of the Bridge on August 9, 2023. Although it contained a number of conditions, it made no mention of the Town paying for police presence for the regulation of traffic. The Town just learned that, at the September 12, 2023 Village Board Work Session, the Mayor asked the Village Manager to enter into a written arrangement with the Town for police overtime for traffic control, but the Village Manager never contacted the Town to do so. The Village was silent for four (4) years.
Why did they wait until AFTER work commenced to address the issue of police presence for the regulation of traffic, shutting down a project that took years to plan and that is important for public safety and flood mitigation?
The Town recognizes the importance of traffic control in the affected area. We are attempting to resolve the situation; however, the Mamaroneck Village Manager has refused to attend meetings between the Town and Village. Instead, he sent representatives who do not have final decision-making authority. Bridge reconstruction often is done without the presence of the police. The recent reconstruction of the Hillside Avenue bridge in the Village of Mamaroneck is an example. In fact, our Consultant told us that police details are not included in the NYSDOT standard specifications for Locally Administered Federal Aid projects, such as the Waverly Avenue Bridge. Furthermore, the NYSDOT does not provide the option to request long term police details on their own sponsored projects where a road is to be closed for any length of time. Nonetheless, the Town made a reasonable proposal for a police presence, at Town expense, for a limited period of time while the public becomes accustomed to the closure of the bridge and starts using alternate routes, but the Village rejected it out of hand, without proposing an alternative.
The Town is attempting to resolve this issue expeditiously for the benefit of the community but needs cooperation from the Village to do so.
The Town and the Village have a long history of working together for the benefit of our residents, even when we didn’t agree on an issue. We call upon the Village to resume this longstanding tradition of civility.