Chappaqua, NY: 90-years-on and Federal funds sought to enable grade-separation

25 Feb

Some 90 years after it was first proposed, grade-separation of the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Metro-North Harlem Line right-of-way in Chappaqua, New Castle, is again in play. Following the fatal accident in Valhalla in January 2015, town officials are seeking federal funding to enable the level crossing to be eliminated by the expedited construction of a road over rail bridge. It is being argued that the proximity of the level crossing to an exit ramp of the Saw Mill Parkway and the proximity of a high school make this project a priority.

The level crossing is adjacent to the former Reader’s Digest corporate campus and it is of note that in the 1930s, DeWitt and Lila Wallace -founders of Reader’s Digest donated the land to enable a road over rail bridge to be constructed. Recently, a re-zoning that would allow the Reader’s Digest site to be used for a large retail development was passed. This raises further concerns about the level crossing as road traffic would increase substantially as a result of the retail development. At present it is expected that while other highway works would be a condition precedent, the elimination of the level crossing is not included in these enabling works.

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