Assemblyman Steve Otis and State Senator Shelley Mayer, on July 11, announced the awarding of important state grants to Sound Shore communities to assist each with bridge infrastructure projects that are part of broader flood mitigation plans for their respective watersheds.
Through the State’s BRIDGE NY initiative, which assists local governments across the state in hardening their existing infrastructure while boosting the resiliency of bridges and culverts, the City of Rye was awarded $5 million for the replacement of the Locust Avenue Bridge over Blind Brook. The project will provide for better water flow in storm events and help in the city’s broader plans to mitigate flooding in the Blind Brook watershed and within Rye’s Central Business District.
The Town of Mamaroneck received $769,000 to help fund the deck replacement on the Rockland Avenue Bridge over Sheldrake River. This project is part of the multi-faceted flood mitigation program in the Village of Mamaroneck.
State Senator Mayer said, “Given the impact of climate change and flooding in Rye and Mamaroneck, this funding has been a high priority.”
Assemblyman Otis said he was pleased that Rye’s application was selected for this significant NYS resiliency grant and commended Governor Hochul for being “supportive of water infrastructure and storm resiliency needs in Westchester.” In an email to the paper, he noted, “Reducing flood risk cannot be accomplished through a single project. Successful flood mitigation is accomplished by moving ahead with a series of projects that clear obstructions, retaining water upstream in a storm event, avoiding development that worsens flooding risk, and making our stormwater infrastructure more resilient. Replacing the Locust Avenue Bridge is one of those needed projects that will relieve an obstruction that causes damage in Rye’s Central Business District.”
The Locust Avenue Bridge, said Rye Mayor Josh Cohn, “is one of our well-known flood trouble spots. We are delighted to have this Bridge NY funding to help replace it, and very grateful to Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis for their constant support, and, of course, to Governor Hochul.”
In a conversation with Rye City Manager Greg Usry this week, we learned more about the project. Usry explained that in a report last year, the DEC identified the Locust Avenue Bridge as being the most undersized in the City. “When we put together the grant application, we submitted preliminary designs. The final design will be one that ensures the bridge will not impede the flow of water in a flood nor negatively impact other communities,” he said.
The total estimated cost to replace the Locust Avenue Bridge, which was built in 1928, is close to $10 million, said Usry. “The maximum amount of a BRIDGE NY grant is $5 million, and ours was one of only three projects of this size approved in our area.” He added that there are other funding sources available and that the City continues to put away all surplus funds for infrastructure needs.
Rye City staff are in the process of producing the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program in advance of annual budget discussions. “There are already $45 million of projects in the pipeline. The Locust Avenue Bridge will be in the CIP and will follow the others.”
The City Manager thanked State Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis for their advocacy. “Rye has received close to $20 million in State funding over the past several years.”