New Rochelle Traffic Nightmare Begins with 3-Year North Ave Bridge Replacement Project

Written By: Robert Cox

ALBANY, NY (January 9, 2023) — The New York State Thruway Authority has started a three-year project to replace the North Avenue bridge, located above a section of the New England Thruway. The project began this week and is anticipated to be substantially completed in Fall 2025.

Construction is expected to start in the coming weeks and notice will be provided in advance of any changes affecting traffic patterns and pedestrian access. Preliminary work in the area has begun.

UPDATE 2022-0111 9:45 AM: Preliminary lane closures got underway on Wednesday 1/11/23 at about 9:30 AM.

Mayor Noam Bramson said “We hope and expect that the impacts will be tolerable, but it is reasonable to anticipate some periodic headaches before the project wraps up in fall 2025.”

“There is no way to sugarcoat what will surely be the worst traffic mess in the history of New Rochelle,” said one City official on background. “We’ll catch hell but this a New York State project. Our hands are tied”.

“The Thruway Authority remains dedicated to investing and modernizing its infrastructure across our 570-mile superhighway system,” Thruway Authority Interim Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said. “We receive no federal or state tax money and work hard to ensure our toll dollars are spent strategically on critical projects like the replacement of the North Avenue bridge. Our team collaborated with New Rochelle on this vital connection to ensure it better serves those who live, work, and operate businesses in the city for decades to come.”

The list of bad news is long and only gets worse in a detailed reading. During construction, motorists and residents should expect the following:

  • Northbound and southbound lanes on North Avenue will be limited to one lane in each direction
  • Burling Lane between May Street and North Avenue will be closed for the duration of the project
  • First responders, buses and articulated buses, and delivery trucks with three axles or less will continue to have access to the bridge at all times
  • Due to space constraints, vehicles with more than three axles will not be allowed through the construction zone; a truck detour is provided
  • Left turns from North Avenue to Garden Street will be prohibited; a detour will be provided utilizing Lockwood Avenue to Memorial Highway
  • Left turns from Garden Street to North Avenue will be prohibited; a detour will be provided utilizing Cedar Street to Huguenot Street
  • Pedestrian traffic will be maintained throughout the project using the existing walkway over I-95 connecting at Burling Lane and the train station.
  • The majority of construction will take place during the day; overhead work such as bridge deck and steel removal that requires highway lane closures will occur at night for the safety of workers and to limit impacts to traffic.

Working closely with the city of New Rochelle, Thruway Authority engineers determined the project should be completed in three stages to maintain access to the heart of the city.

Stage 1: Vehicles will be relocated to the center of the existing bridge so its outermost components can be removed. It will also include the construction of new substructures, erection of steel and placement of concrete decks.

Stage 2: Vehicles will be relocated to the new outer bridge sections so the remainder of the old bridge can be removed and rebuilt.

Stage 3: Vehicles will move to the center of the new bridge so sidewalks, paving and other work can be completed.

Improvements will include a wider overpass structure, a dedicated left turn lane on North Avenue onto Garden Street and more efficient traffic flow in the area.

This project will replace the North Avenue bridge in the city of New Rochelle. The bridge is located above a section of the New England Thruway.

Approximately 20,000 vehicles use the North Avenue bridge daily.

The existing North Avenue bridge, which has been in service since 1958 and has a lower vertical clearance, has a history of impact damage as well as continued deterioration due to age, wear, and harsh winter conditions.

This replacement project is necessary to address structural and operational needs, along with enhancing safety and improving mobility for motorists as well as pedestrians at this critical intersection.

Major components of this project include:

  • Building a wider structure to accommodate a dedicated North Avenue southbound left turn lane onto Garden Street
  • Raising the bridge’s vertical clearance over I-95 to 16’ 6’’
  • Converting Burling Lane to one-way from North Avenue to Memorial Highway (westbound traffic only)
  • Improving traffic flow on Garden Street
  • Installing decorative lighting and fencing, and other architectural treatments given the prominent location in the downtown corridor
  • Completing the Burling Lane Park, including an ADA compliant ramp to access the pedestrian walkway over I-95 to the Metro-North train station
  • Rebuilding sidewalks and adding benches to both sides of the bridge

J. D’Annunzio & Sons, Inc., is the project contractor following a competitive bidding process.

Digital message boards have been placed around the work zone to advise motorists and pedestrians about construction work. Physical signs have also been installed at the construction site and in the vicinity to alert motorists and pedestrians about the various detours.

For additional project information and maps, visit the project page on the Thruway Authority’s website. The page will be regularly updated.

Motorists may encounter lane closures on the New England Thruway along with traffic shifts and stoppages while construction is underway. Motorists should follow the posted work zone speed limits and are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.

Thruway travelers are encouraged to visit for real-time traffic updates.   

Motorists can also download the Thruway Authority’s free mobile-app and sign up for TRANSalerts for traffic information.