West Thames Street bridge enters final stages of approval (maybe)

Final plans for the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge were proposed to some controversy, though it did manage to avoid being delayed again. The primary concern was the decision to install elevators instead of a wheelchair-friendly ramp, with critics stating that nearby outdoor elevators are prone to malfunctioning.

A spokesman for the city stated that the elevators would be more “technologically advanced” than existing machines and that important components would be shielded from the elements. As of now the plans await approval from New York’s Public Design Commission.

The design phase for the project is estimated to cost roughly $2 million, with the following construction phase estimated to be roughly $27.5 million. The bill is to be divided in some fashion between the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

According to a spokesperson, the BPCA would additionally be responsible for upkeep of the bridge and has so far set aside $7.5 million to go towards the bridge. The BPCA board includes several New York real estate veterans that should bring valuable experience to the table, including Lester Petracca of Triangle Equities and Carl Mattone of the Mattone Group.

While final designs and a detailed construction schedule have not yet been approved, the project seems to have enough momentum and confirmed funding to finally become a reality. Construction is tentatively hoped to start in fall of 2014 with the bridge opening in late 2016.

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