PORT MORRIS — Construction could soon start on a long-delayed path and pedestrian bridge between the South Bronx and Randall’s Island that has stalled while the city haggled with private property owners over building rights, officials said Thursday.
A bridge frame already crosses the narrow Bronx Kill under an elevated Amtrak line, but the city had to wait to fully construct the bridge and to pave a path from it to 132nd Street in Port Morris until it had the rights to build on that state-owned but privately controlled property it runs through.
Now, seven years after plans for the so-called Randall’s Island Connector were first announced, the city’s Economic Development Corporation has obtained the necessary easements and is calling for contractors to submit bids and begin building by early next year.
“It is great to see this long-awaited project moving forward,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement Thursday.
The quarter-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway will connect Bronxites to 330 acres of Randall’s Island parkland, the city promises.
The path cuts through the Harlem River Yards, a 96-acre waterfront zone owned by the state Transportation Department and leased to the developer Harlem River Yard Ventures, which subleases it to several companies.
The EDC obtained the easements from Harlem River Yard Ventures, Dow Jones & Company and the New York Post.
Construction bids are due Oct. 8. Work is slated to begin early 2014 and finish by early 2015.
The connector is part of the city’s plan for a network of paths that connect South Bronx residents to parks and the waterfront.
“The Randall’s Island Connector will complete phase one of the plan and will make the active recreation, health programs and other amenities of Randall’s Island accessible to even more people of The Bronx,” said EDC President Kyle Kimball.