Major milestone reached on NYC green infrastructure project

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New York City has hit a milestone in the project to uncover Tibbetts Brook and extend the Putnam Greenway in the Bronx.

Following years of a stalemate, the city reached an agreement with CSX Transportation to purchase a piece of property critical to the project for $11.2 million. Hailed as the final component, the city will now move forward with rerouting the brook above ground, an engineering feat known as ‘daylighting,’ and will complete one of the most ambitious green infrastructure projects to date.

Construction is expected to begin in 2025 and the overall daylighting and greenway project budget is $133 million.

Removing Tibbetts Brook from the sewer system will create additional capacity in the borough’s drainage network and is expected to reduce combined sewer overflows by 228 million gallons annually, and improve the health of the Harlem River.

The green infrastructure project will also create new parkland within the former CSX rail line property and extend the existing Putnam Greenway, which goes through Van Cortlandt Park and connects northward to the 750-mile Empire State Trail.

“Rerouting this long-buried waterway above ground will reduce pollution going into the Harlem River, lessen flooding, connect greenways, and create even more recreational space for the Bronx,” said Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “This is one of our most ambitious green infrastructure projects to date, complementing the many other innovative initiatives we are already utilizing – including the recently expanded Cloudburst Program, Bluebelts, rain gardens and green roofs – to tackle climate change.”

The daylighting project will remove four to five million gallons of water from the sewer system each day, more on rainy days.

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