News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
The MTA has renewed efforts to build a bridge to carry vehicular traffic over the Metro-North train tracks on Roaring Brook Road in Chappaqua near the Saw Mill Parkway.
New Castle Supervisor Lisa Katz said last week that town officials had a Sept. 19 conversation with MTA representatives, who are looking for the town’s support as they pursue grant applications from the federal and state governments.
An 80-20 split between the federal government and New York State is being sought to fund the project.
“We had a call with them (last Monday) and they did affirmatively say that if this did move forward, we would have significant input into the design, what it looks like, where it is as well as materials and tree planting and everything else,” Katz said.
Last Friday, the MTA confirmed that it is targeting money for a bridge in that location in a one-sentence statement that followed an inquiry by The Examiner.
“The MTA is working with NYSDOT and the Town of New Castle to secure funding for a potential project,” the statement read.
While initially proposed many years ago, the overpass took on renewed urgency in the first few years following the February 2015 train-vehicle crash at a grade crossing in Valhalla that killed six people. It is considered a problem grade crossing, especially during peak hours, because there is a relatively short distance between the tracks and the Saw Mill Parkway.
Katz said with the retail having been opened at the nearby Chappaqua Crossing and 91 townhomes under construction at the site, the project takes on added importance. The grade crossing is also near Horace Greeley High School.
“We started advocating for a bridge over the Saw Mill River Parkway at Roaring Brook Roa
d for a number of reasons, given its proximity to the high school and the very young drivers who drive there, and we have personally seen people waiting on the train tracks to get up the hill,” she said.
The MTA was looking for a letter of support for the town as it tries to capture the funding.
Several years ago, when it was last discussed, rough estimates for the project were pegged in the $30 million to $50 million range, said New Castle Director of Planning Sabrina Charney Hull.
Councilman Jeremy Saland, the only other current board member besides Katz who was serving during some of the discussions in the few years after the Valhalla accident, said it makes sense for the town to do
what it can to vie for the funding.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “We’ve been pursuing this for some time.”
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/