Motorists Battle Winter Ravaged Bronx River Parkway's Twists, Turns

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Motorists on the narrow, winding Bronx River Parkway have to avoid treacherous potholes.
Motorists on the narrow, winding Bronx River Parkway have to avoid treacherous potholes. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The tight lanes, winding curves and crater-like potholes on the Bronx River Parkway have motorists stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally.

Not only has the road been ravaged by winter weather, but also some portions are under construction, which has taken the already narrow route down to one lane.

The Bronx River Parkway, which opened in 1922, is the second oldest limited-access automobile highway in the United States. It is approximately 19 miles long, and runs from Story Avenue in the Bronx, up to Kensico Circle in North Castle.

"It's become somewhat scary to drive on," said Frances Jones of Scarsdale. "The lanes are so tight, and with no shoulder, there's nowhere to go."

Because the parkway nearly predated the automobile, portions were designed not for cars, but for horse-and-buggies, which traveled roughly 30 miles per hour, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The narrowness of certain portions make avoiding hitting potholes a treacherous feat.

"Your instinct is to either swerve to avoid the potholes or to jam on the brakes, but it's packed with so many cars," Jones said.

Because of the increased level of traffic on county roads and parkways, many major roads, including the Bronx River Parkway, have taken the brunt of the abuse.

"Some of our major roads are becoming undrivable. It's a problem," New Rochelle resident Ginny Gilmore said at a gas station near the Tuckahoe-Eastchester border. "It makes more traffic, which is probably just doing more damage to the road."

Robert Sinclair Jr., the AAA New York Media Relations Manager, said that approximately three weeks ago he was traveling on the parkway in the middle of the afternoon when he hit an unexpected glut of traffic.

When he finally inched his way forward, he found that cars of all sizes were being forced to slow to a crawl to avoid a pothole he described as "five or six inches deep." 

"This is probably the worst I've seen on the Bronx River Parkway in terms of potholes," he said. "I'm not even sure you can call it potholes. It's more like the pavement has been eaten away."

Sinclair attributes this winter's harsh and unpredictable weather -- 65 inches of snow has fallen in certain parts of Westchester -- for the uneven terrain on county roads.

"I'm old enough to remember ice trays. You put the water in at one level, and it's higher when you take it out, it's expanded. That happening to the roads, plus the action of cars driving over it, just hammers away at those cracked roadways," he said.

A Westchester County spokeswoman told Daily Voice, "The county currently has three crews dedicated specifically to filling pot holes every day, all day. As current cold weather conditions are not conducive to re-paving, only one Asphalt plant (in the Bronx) is open and supplying asphalt. Thus, limiting our ability to re-pave."

She added, "As the weather improves, we anticipate more plants to open. It is our intention to fill every pothole as soon as possible. Currently, road inspectors are out assisting road crews in identifying areas with significant concerns and priority." 

Run into similar problems on the Bronx River Parkway or other county roads? Join the conversation below.

@suzannesamin

@zakfailla

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