High Bridge Restoration Off and Running

It's about a year-and-a-half behind the schedule announced in 2007, but the rehabilitation of the High Bridge, a pedestrian and cyclist link between Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, is off the ground.

Per an email from project coordinator Ellen Macnow of the Parks Department, via Inwood and Washington Heights Livable Streets

A contract has been signed with the firm Lichtenstein Consulting Engineers, and they will start work soon. Lichtenstein is charged with producing designs for the bridge, including structural improvements, new ramp access and new protective fencing. Their work will result in a contract to be bid out for construction, which is funded by Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC program.

Public comment meetings will be scheduled in the spring.

Macnow says the High Bridge Coalition "will be working hard this year to engage the local and advocacy communities in the design." (Parks has already conducted at least one round of public input, in August of '07.) There was also concern upon the project's announcement nearly three years ago that access would be limited to daytime weekend hours, a fear Macnow tried to mitigate. "We want everybody who wants to use the bridge to use the bridge," she said.

Built as part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848, the High Bridge spans the Harlem River to connect Washington Heights with the High Bridge neighborhood. It stopped carrying water in 1958, and was closed to the public completely in 1970.