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Ramp from Pelham Parkway to N.E. Thruway re-opened - for now


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Ramp from Pelham Parkway to N.E. Thruway re-opened - for now



July 15th 2008



Lombard for News

From l., Barbara Dolensek, Anthony Chirico, state Sen. Jeff Klein, Virginia

Gallagher, Assemblyman Michael Bendetto and Leonard Murrel, reopening the

onramp from Pelham Pkwy. to New England Thruway


A blocked-off highway entrance ramp that caused years of frustration and headaches for Bronx drivers forced to use "temporary" access was back in business last week.


But it might not last.


Drivers heading home to Co-op City, or just trying to make it onto the northbound Interstate 95/New England Thruway from Pelham Parkway, had to deal with the frustration of driving under the highway, making a tight U-turn and then waiting for a traffic light to change before they could get onto the highway.


It also caused waiting lines of cars heading out of City Island and Orchard Beach, especially on weekends.


"It not only created a congestion problem, it created a safety problem," said state Sen. Jeff Klein, who pressured the State Department of Transportation to listen to commuter complaints.


Klein said he would see cars aimed in every direction trying to get onto the highway.


In March 2007, representatives from Community Board 10 wrote a letter to the state DOT, demanding that the ramp be reopened. But it took until last week, after Klein's office got involved with the agency, for the ramp to be deemed safe enough for drivers.


The ramp was shut down in 2004 due to construction on the Bruckner Expressway. But the end of construction in August 2006 did not mean the end of a hassle for motorists.


The police and city transportation departments elected to keep the ramp shut, said state DOT spokesman Adam Levine. They worried the ramp's short length forced drivers to accelerate too quickly and get into accidents, he said.


The solution - a traffic study that would look at how the lanes intersect. But because of "procedural issues," Levine said, the study began only this year.


When the study is completed next year, the ramp may be closed once again, Levine said, but an alternative route would be created to alleviate congestion.


Unclear, however, is whether drivers will be forced back to using the old alternative U-turn approach.

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