New $12.4 Million Southbound Harlem River Drive Ramp Being Built

The demolition and reconstruction of the Harlem River Drive southbound ramp leading onto the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge is a $12.4 million project that is expected to be completed by the end of the year. A temporary ramp, with a quick detour through local streets, is in place, continuing to give motorists access to the RFK Bridge ramp at 125th Street.

The contractor for the design/build project is Defoe of Mount Vernon, N.Y. The project is part of the nearly $1 billion in capital improvements planned over the next 15 years for the sprawling 75-year-old Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which connects Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens and serves a combined average of 170,000 vehicles daily.

The Harlem River Drive southbound ramp

Photo of old ramp, seen where yellow arrows are pointing, before it was demolished as part of a $12.4 million Capital Construction project.

Start of ramp demo area

Pile of rubble shows where the nearly 50-year-old Harlem River Drive southbound ramp once stood.

New beam support

The original steel support columns are the only piece of the old ramp that remain. New galvanized steel beams will be placed horizontally across them, as seen in this photo, followed by new steel stringers and a brand new, slightly wider roadway.

RFK Facility Engineer Rocco D'Angelo says, "We reached a point where it was no longer possible to just keep patching. The ramp has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced before another winter approaches."

The detour is quick and easy. Motorists will exit onto 1st Avenue near 127th Street, follow detour signs to 125th Street, make a right onto 125th Street and another left just past the intersection of 2nd Avenue and 125th Street onto the existing ramp heading to the RFK Harlem River Lift Span. Signs will be in place to direct motorists.

Known locally as the Triborough Bridge, it was renamed in honor of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in November 2008.

Top end ramp supports

Steel supports for the new ramp in place near what will be the top of the ramp.