Work to Begin on Long-Delayed West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge

Rendering of the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge, which is designed as a double lenticular truss (two joined parabolic forms) and will be accessible by elevators and stairs on each end. The steel-and-concrete bridge will be covered by a glass roof and enclosed with mesh material. Rendering: NYC Economic Development Corp. 

Nov. 06, 2016

Work on the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge is about to begin—six years after it was first projected to be completed. The 230-foot-long, $27.5 million structure will diagonally span West Street from the plaza of 50 West Street, now under construction at the corner of Joseph P. Ward Street on the east, to the Battery Park City dog run on the west. The bridge will replace the “temporary” Rector Street Bridge, rushed to completion in 2002 as an interim replacement for two pedestrian bridges damaged on Sept. 11, 2001.

Crews were expected to begin setting up equipment in a portion of the dog run on Thursday, Nov. 10. In a presentation to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee last week, Matt Krenek, the project manager for Skanksa, the lead contractor, said the small dog run and the north entrance to the large dog run will be closed for “one to two weeks” in order to make way for utility work. A parking lane will be taken over for machinery storage. Additionally, while work is being done in the center median, a lane will be closed periodically between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Both closures are indicated by red dotted lines in the diagram below.)

Krenek noted other major points in the bridge's construction schedule.

• At the beginning of next year, work is expected to begin on the east approach at Joseph P. Ward Street.

• In the summer of 2017, the bridge spans, which are being constructed off-site, will be put in place. The first half will be erected from the west side to the center median; the second half will be installed from the center median to the east side of the street.

• At the end of 2017, utilities will be connected across the bridge span, and the surrounding area will be restored.

• During the first quarter of 2018, hopefully the bridge will be ready for use, Krenek said.

Responding to safety concerns voiced by the committee at its September meeting, officials have suspended a plan to take down the Rector Street Bridge before the West Thames Street Bridge is completed. But they could not promise that it would not happen.

“That portion of the project will be funded with federal dollars so there is a whole bureaucratic process that has to go into place for us to activate those funds,” said Len Greco, vice president at the city’s Economic Development Corporation. “We just don’t know.”

“Our clear message,” said Ninfa Segarra, chair of the committee, “is that it doesn’t come down until the other one is up.”