The $62 million restoration of the High Bridge, the 1,200-foot long pedestrian path that connects the Highbridge section of the Bronx with Washington Heights in Manhattan, will commence this summer. According to the New York Times, the reopening of the city’s oldest bridge after 40 years of closure could provide a big boost to one of the city’s worst-off neighborhoods.
When complete in late 2013, the new bridge will provide the impoverished Bronx neighborhood with better access to Manhattan, and could help reverse years of decline. Rather than be the place to avoid — as the Times said it currently is — the refurbished structure will have new lights, protective barriers and ramps for bicycles. In connecting parks at each of its bases, including a new five-acre one at the north bank of the Harlem River, it could prove to be a beacon of public health to an area that badly needs one.
The project was a long-time in the making. Mayor Michael Bloomberg first approved it in 2007, after six years of community lobbying, but the proposal had to pass through layers of bureaucracy because it affects a landmarked structure. [NYT]