Work has begun on the $518 million Phase 2 of the Hunts Point Access Improvement Project, which will rework key sections of the Bruckner Expressway and Bruckner Boulevard in efforts to establish a direct route to the Hunts Point Market.
These developments are part of a $1.7 billion three-phase project overseen by the Department of Transportation in Hunts Point, which, when done, will provide direct access to the Hunts Point Market from both the Bruckner Expressway and the new Sheridan Boulevard.
“This project will be transformational for the South Bronx – and for our regional economy – because it will help make our roadways less congested, our air cleaner, and will allow people and goods to move more efficiently through our neighborhood,” said Council member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. in a news release.
The Hunts Point Market accounts for $2 billion of the Bronx’s economic activity, and the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is responsible for supplying 60% of all produce, meat, and fish used by New Yorkers and visitors, as well as employs more than 6,000 workers. It is constantly active with traffic, attracting tens of thousands of vehicles per day.
These cars and trucks drive through local streets to go to and from the interstate highway networks. They release harmful air pollutants, which further increases respiratory and cardiovascular health effects.
Construction has also begun on a new shared-use path on Bruckner Boulevard between 138th Street and Barretto Street, which will provide increased recreational and cycling areas.
“The Hunts Point Access Improvement Process is a necessary step to improve the health, safety, and well-being of the community by redirecting pollution-generating vehicles off local roadways while simultaneously increasing pedestrian access to green spaces and creating new jobs,” said Assembly member Amanda Septimo.
“For too long, the South Bronx has faced infrastructure disinvestment, and the Hunts Point Improvement project will inject much-needed vitality into the region,” she added.
Phase one, which began in December 2019 and is expected to be completed by Fall 2022, will replace four bridges over Bronx River Avenue and Amtrak/CSX rail lines, improve the intersection of Bruckner Boulevard and Hunts Point Avenue, and create more pedestrian and cycling spaces.
The third and final phase will eliminate the bottleneck at the Bruckner/Sheridan interchange by adding a third lane to the Bruckner in both directions, and incorporate new traffic signs/markings to direct auto, truck and pedestrian traffic.