New York Moves to Final Phase of $1.7B Bronx Highway Project

By James Leggate

January 6, 2023

The New York State Dept. of Transportation awarded a $446-million contract for the third and final phase of work on the $1.7-billion Hunts Point Access Improvement Project, after work on the first phase of the New York CIty project finished up in October. The project is expected to mitigate air pollution in the South Bronx community caused by heavy truck traffic moving into and out of the busy Hunts Point wholesale produce market.

The project involves rebuilding State Route 895, the Sheridan Expressway, into a local road—Sheridan Boulevard—and providing direct access from I-95 and I-278—the Bruckner Expressway—to the Hunts Point Terminal Market.

The 1-million-sq-ft market distributes more than 2.5 billion lb of produce to the New York City metropolitan area each year, making it one of the largest wholesale food distribution centers in the world. But the busy market draws more than 78,000 vehicles daily, including 13,000 trucks that use local roads to access the market, which city and state officials say has contributed to poor air quality in the community. 

“The changes we are making to this vital hub for commerce will not only make it easier to transport goods to and from the market, but also improve quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods by taking thousands of trucks off local streets and providing new recreational opportunities that will further fuel the revitalization of the South Bronx,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

Work on phase two is still underway. This final phase includes reconstruction of the Bruckner Expressway interchange at Sheridan Boulevard with the removal of a bottleneck and the relocation of the northbound Sheridan Boulevard entrance ramp. Plans call for adding a third lane in both directions of the expressway., replacing the Bryant Avenue pedestrian bridge and adding safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. Work is scheduled to be done in the fall of 2025. 

El Sol DeFoe Joint Vewnture won the phase three contract. The joint venture of Maspeth, N.Y.-based El Sol Contracting and Mt. Vernon, N.Y.-based Defoe Corp. also is the contractor on the $518-million phase two, according to public records. Phase two work is scheduled for completion in 2023. It includes rehabilitation and reconstruction of 3 miles of the Bruckner Expressway, widening the road and building new ramps to provide a direct route to Hunts Point Peninsula. 

A joint venture of Skanska USA Civil Northeast and Yonkers, N.Y.-based ECCO III Enterprises Inc. was the first phase contractor. Work on the $459-million contract involved building new ramps from Sheridan Boulevard and Bruckner Expressway, rehabilitating the Bronx River Avenue viaduct, replacing the eastern span of the Byrant Avenue pedestrian bridge and making various improvements to Garrison Park. 

Last September, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a separate project funded in part by a $110-million federal grant to upgrade the market itself. The plan calls for expanding the facility’s refrigerated-warehouse capacity and making site traffic circulation improvements.