TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – The Tuckahoe Board of Trustees and village residents expressed frustration and displeasure over the Yonkers Avenue Project, an oft-delayed, much-maligned project that has been delayed for more than a year .
Yonkers Avenue has been closed off since July 5, 2011, and may not be reopened for several more weeks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the project, has given five incorrect estimates of when the road would once again be open to traffic, and the village has reached a breaking point.
Trustee Greg Luisi went so far as to call the operation incompetent.
“At the July 16 village board meeting, I expressed my displeasure and lack of confidence with the project. A ‘construction fiasco’ is how I described what took place on the road,” he said. “It’s now Dec. 10 and it’s still not open. Today, I call it ‘construction incompetence.’ ”
Frank DiMarco, superintendent of the Department of Public Works, was hesitant to put a timetable on when the project would be completed, but assured the public that the DPW was taking matters into its own hands.
“What’s happening now is Cutting Edge, the second-phase contractor, is in place to construct 125 feet of curbing, and they’re nearly completed with that,” DiMarco said. “We’re looking to mobilize this week and start next week.”
Resident Antionette Martino called for the board to appeal to higher levels of government before any more damage is done, which includes a landlord who lost a commercial tenant because shoppers struggled to reach his shop, and residents who have been forced to detour around the village for 17 months.
“Have we contacted anyone in Washington? It doesn’t have to be the president, but we have congressmen and senators. We need to get on their case, today,” Martino said. “What are you going to do to make this up to us? To that building owner? Now you’re telling us it may be done in January, well I don’t believe you.”
The board tried to deflect some of the blame onto the federal government, saying that it was a federal grant so the project was awarded to the lowest bidder. Trustees said village workers lived up to their end of the agreement, but resident Frank Moran said there is enough blame to go around.
“There needs to be a level of accountability. The residents of Tuckahoe are trying to hold [the board] to it, and in turn you hold it to the federal government because it’s their dollar,” he said. “How many dollars were saved when you look at lost sales tax revenue and lost tenants? The residents want a level of accountability.”