The Popham Road Bridge will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic from 10 a.m. Friday, April 13 to 6 a.m. Saturday, April 14. Police will detour traffic during that time.
The bridge is being widened from three to five lanes, with new pedestrian walkways, turn lanes, a center aisle, upgraded lighting, wrought-iron railing, stone arching and granite curbs. When done, it is expected to not only look good, but make for a safer, faster and more efficient way to cross the railroad tracks above and below.
Plans for the repairs began in 1998, after the state found the 1915-built span unsafe for heavy trucks. Eventually, the state imposed a 12-ton limit over the bridge that is a major east-west artery between Route 22 and Central Avenue. Scarsdale spent nearly a decade looking for outside money to fund the project, now estimated to cost about $17.2 million, deciding early on it wanted to have a fancier showcase for its main road than a simple concrete arch.
The bridge’s underside belongs to Metro-North as part of its Harlem Line Scarsdale station, although the roadbed belongs to the village. Scarsdale officials negotiated with the railway to handle all the repairs and agreed to extend the concrete platform along the tracks to the parking garage 85 feet away.
The village had to purchase some of the land along the side of the roadway to allow for the new, wider lanes. Village officials also negotiated for a $550,000 utilities payment to put in necessary telephone and electric lines during construction.
Estimates had the work completed in November 2011, two years after it was begun. The two-year repair project became a three-year ordeal, in part because five different municipal and public entities are involved.
The final cost is estimated at $17.2 million: $13.4 million, about 80 percent, from federal stimulus funds; 15 percent from state Department of Transportation highway, bridge and railroad funds.
Of the last 5 percent, about $150,000 is from Scarsdale’s general fund, the rest shared by the utilities and about $40,000 from Metro-North.