Stimulus cash to fund Odell Ave. Bridge overhaul

The long-awaited reconstruction of the crumbling Odell Avenue Bridge in Yonkers will be the first project in Westchester County to get funding from the federal economic stimulus package.

Some $2.8 million has been allocated toward rebuilding the 79-year-old bridge, which crosses the Saw Mill River Parkway between Nepperhan Avenue and Saw Mill River Road. Work on the portion of the bridge under county jurisdiction is set to begin in April.

A Mount Vernon construction company will oversee the four-part project. More than 100 people will be hired to design and build the new bridge.

Westchester County officials say the project will create a safer span for drivers and dozens of jobs for the area.

Some residents, however, have expressed misgivings about the project.

"I'm in favor of the jobs, but I'm a bit concerned about how it's going to delay people in this neighborhood," says Dennis Halliwell.

When the reconstruction of the bridge begins next month, traffic will be allowed to continue, but during two months in the summer, travel will be restricted to only one lane.

Under President Barack Obama's stimulus package, only "shovel ready" projects will receive immediate funding from the federal government. According to Westchester County Legislator Ken Jenkins, the Odell Bridge project met that criterion.

So far, Westchester has secured more than $5 million in economic stimulus money, including $1.1 million for new guardrails on county roads, $500,000 for traffic data sensors on the Bronx River Parkway, $400,000 for new stop light controllers and $300,000 for new street lights on the Bronx River Parkway.

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