The so-called “last mile” of Interstate 95 in Westchester County nearest to Connecticut will undergo a massive “reconstruction” including road-widening, bridge replacements and other changes that can slow traffic into 2021, New York state officials have announced.
The project, which officially started this week, is expected to result in more than just lane closures, according to a news release from the New York State Thruway Authority.
Expect more than just lane closures, according to the announcement: “During construction, motorists should expect traffic shifts, detours and temporary traffic stops. Motorists are urged to be alert and follow the posted work zone speed limits.”
The budget for the entire project is $135 million.
When complete, the exit ramp to Interstate 287 (the Cross-Westchester Expressway) should be widened to two lanes, Interstate 95 should have more and updated guardrails, wider shoulders and other added safety features, and various bridges will be rehabilitated. (See the list at the bottom of this article.)
Timing: Now Through 2021 (Nothing More Specific)
The project was scheduled to begin earlier this week with work starting on the Grace Church Bridge, which goes over I-95 just east of Exit 21 (which leads to Midland Avenue in Rye, N.Y. and Interstate 287, the Cross-Westchester Expressway).
An onramp from Midland Avenue to Interstate 95 North is expected to be closed, according to the announcement, “for the majority of the project. A detour route has been developed and will be displayed with roadway signage.”
Next week, “reconstruction” work is expected to start on the I-95 right shoulders and shoulders abutting the median strip of the highway (both north and south lanes). Expect temporary pavement on the shoulders for a while, according to the project website.
A spokeswoman for the Thruway Authority told Darienite.com on Friday afternoon that there is no more specific estimate for the end of the project than sometime in 2021. announcement nor the project website said when in 2021 the project is expected to be completed.
This map of the ramp-reconstruction part of the project (just above and below) said the construction work was expected to be complete by 2019 — but it also said that construction was expected to start in the spring of 2017, and those projected dates are no longer part of the plans, the spokeswoman said.
The best way to keep up to date on when the project may be completed, along with other information on the project, is to monitor the “Last Mile” project Web page, she said.
Traffic Impact in Greenwich
Traffic on some state and town roads in Greenwich will be increased and changed as a result of the Midland Avenue exit being closed, a Greenwich official told GreenwichFreePress.com.
“We’re aware of the construction project and making plans, as is the Fire Dept and GEMS [Greenwich Emergency Medical Services],” Greenwich police Lt. John Slusarz said.
“We reached out to New York emergency services so we can develop contingency plans, because the Midland Ave. exit will be closed, and impact traffic going through Greewnich,” he said. “It’ll impact how we respond to incidents on I-95 and how we get back from them.”
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Long-term I-95 Projects
This isn’t the only long-term project in the region that will disrupt traffic on Interstate 95 and other high-volume traffic corridors in the area. Some should be done within a fe months, three are due for completion in 2019. The Exit 9 project is not expected to result in long-term lane closures. Here’s a rundown:
—Interstate 95, Between Exits 15 and 16 — Rehabilitation work on the Yankee Doodle Bridge carrying I-95 over the Norwalk River between Exits 15 and 16 was scheduled to begin on or about Aug. 16, 2018. The project is expected to last 15 months, with completion scheduled BY NOV. 23, 2019.
—Nighttime Lane Closures on I-95, Off and On, in Greenwich, Stamford Start July 1, Continue Till Nov 15 (June 29) COMPLETION DATE: Nov. 15
—Rt. 1 Bridge Over I-95 at Exit 9 To Be Replaced By November 2019 (June 20) NO LONG TERM LANE CLOSURES EXPECTED. COMPLETION DATE: Nov. 30, 2019
—Four-Month, Nighttime Project Along Merritt Parkway in Greenwich to Result in Closed Lanes (June 24) COMPLETION DATE: Oct 24
—Nighttime Lane Closures on Merritt Parkway in Norwalk From Now to 2019 for Bridge Project (April 29) COMPLETION DATE: May 13, 2019
ON RT 1 — DARIEN/STAMFORD BORDER
—Bridge Replacement Project over Noroton River (June 18) expected to result in one lane closed and to start this November. COMPLETION DATE: NOVEMBER 2021
Reason for the Project
In recent years, work on the 15-mile stretch of Interstate 95 from the Bronx to New York state Exit 22, about a mile from Connecticut, has been completed, with the stretch that New York state officials call “the last mile” the last part of the highway to undergo similar upgrades, according to a New York State Thruway Authority news release.
“This current project focuses on the final one-mile stretch from Exit 22 (Port Chester – Rye- Midland Avenue) to the Connecticut state line, which more than 140,000 motorists travel every day,” the news release said.
The project is meant to make the road safer and cut down on noise pollution, said Matthew Driscoll, acting executive director of the Thruway Authority in a news release.
“This comprehensive project will benefit the thousands of motorists who travel this stretch of I-95 every day and improve the quality of life for residents who live nearby, bringing the roadway to modern standards and increasing safety,” Driscoll said.
Two New York state legislators were quoted in the announcement giving support for the project:
“The Thruway Authority is performing critical infrastructure repairs, road improvements, and alleviating noise pollution on the last mile of I-95,” said New York state Sen. Shelley Mayer.
Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “The Thruway Authority is about to undertake the large and necessary ‘Last Mile’ project to address safety issues at the I-95/I-287 merge to the Connecticut border.
To Stay Informed About the Project and Its Traffic Impacts
If it’s important enough to you, you can keep up with the project and possibly anticipate traffic slowdowns in these ways:
- Download the new Thruway Authority MOBILE APP, which includes real-time, thruway-specific traffic and navigation assistance, has a thruway service area locator, toll calculator and roadside assistance. The free app is available for iPhone and Android devices
- Go ONLINE: “Traffic information will be broadcast on Variable Message Signs (VMS), Highway Advisory Radio (HAR), on the Thruway Authority’s website, in addition to the Thruway Authority’s dedicated “Last Mile” web page. Residents and motorists can also find more information about the project, maps and progress updates on the website. […] (New York state highway lane closure information can be found here.)
- Get EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS: “Motorists can sign up for TRANSAlert emails regarding Thruway traffic conditions at http://wwwapps.thruway.ny.gov/tas/.
- Follow them on TWITTER: @ThruwayTraffic and @NYSThruway
- Like them on FACEBOOK: NYS Thruway Authority
What $135M Gets You in Rehabing a Highway
The project includes reconstruction of the I-95 mainline (milepost 14.1 to milepost 15.0) along with safety upgrades including wider shoulders, updated pavement markings and the installation of guiderails and barriers. All three lanes on I-95 in both directions will be reconstructed.
The area contains a six-ramp interchange system with the Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287) and Midland Avenue in the City of Rye and Village of Port Chester.
Several ramps will be upgraded and reconfigured to improve traffic flow.
- Replacement and realignment of the I-287 eastbound to I-95 northbound ramp bridge
- Realignment of the ramp from Midland Avenue to connect directly to I-95 northbound (NOTE: Motorists should be aware this ramp will be closed for the majority of the project. A detour route has been developed and will be displayed with roadway signage.)
- Widening of I-95 southbound to provide a two-lane exit ramp to I-287 westbound
- Improvements to the I-95 northbound/Midland Avenue Interchange
Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation
The project also includes work on several bridges, which will be replaced or rehabilitated.
- Replacement of Grace Church Street bridge over I-95 (milepost 14.46)
- Rehabilitation of the Boston Post Road bridge (milepost 13.71), Purchase Street bridge (milepost 13.48) and the Blind Brook culvert bridge (milepost 13.34), and the Byram River bridge (milepost 14.93)
- Strange fact: Interstate 95 is officially (and on many road signs) called the “New England Thruway” in New York state — which, of course, isn’t in New England at all. So, when the thruway actually reaches New England, it’s no longer called “New England.” Of course, it’s traditional to name roads going to a place after that place. (In Connecticut, the official name of I-95 is the “Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike” although “turnpike” traditionally meant a toll road, which I-95 used to be and may be again.) It’s kind of like “North” and “South” on I-95 through Connecticut actually being east and west.
Editor’s note: Information from a New York State Thruway Authority spokeswoman about the timing of the end of the project was added to the article at 12:41 p.m., Friday.