Construction Begins Next Week On Project That Will Turn Expressway Into A Boulevard, With Crosswalks, Pedestrian Bridge And Bike Path

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A multi-million dollar project is about to get underway in the Bronx that features the building of a boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists.

Right now, the Sheridan Expressway is just for traffic. CBS2’s Cindy Hsu found out on Thursday what it will mean for the neighborhood.

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The Sheridan Expressway, aka Route 895, is just 1.2 miles long and connects the Bruckner and Cross Bronx expressways. It blocks direct access to Starlight Park and the waterfront, making it tough for families to get to the park.

An artist’s rendering of what the new Sheridan Boulevard will look like after a $75 million construction project on the existing Sheridan Expressway. (Photo: New York Governor)

Solangie Jimenez said she takes her daughter, Gabriella, to the park several times a week and has to take a complicated route that includes walking across the 174th Street Bridge. She said she’s excited about the new pedestrian-friendly project.

“You’re going to have more people around you walking because, if you notice, it’s very quiet to get here to the park. So God forbid something happens, there’s no way how a person can even help you,” Jimenez said.

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But things are about to get a lot easier, thanks to a $75 million overhaul. Renderings of the plan show the Sheridan Expressway turning into Sheridan Boulevard, with crosswalks, a new pedestrian bridge and a two-way bike path.

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“We want Bronxites to be able to get access to Starlight Park to the Bronx River. We have a boat house. You’re going to be able to do kayaking and canoeing up and down the Bronx River,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said.

Back in the 1960s, the Sheridan Expressway was part of a plan to have a highway link between New York City and New England, which would have routed the expressway through the Bronx Zoo. But with strong community opposition, only one mile of the roadway ended up being built and many call it obsolete.

Resident Daniel Morales said he can’t wait for the overhaul.

“I frequent this park with my kids and, basically, if it’s more accessible then it’s going to be more fun for the summertime,” Morales said.

Construction is set to begin next week, with the work being done in five phases. Completion is scheduled for late next year.

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The project is being paid for by federal and state funds and is covered in the State Department of Transportation’s budget.