by Jeff Smith
SEWERS ON THE NYW&B -- HIGHBROOK AVE BRIDGE PELHAM
-the Highbrookhighline group has come up with some interesting new information about the NYW&B ROW around the Bridge. Highbrook Avenue is named for a spring --which once fed an actual brook. The strong flowing water emerges on the abandoned NYW&B as a spring. It drains into some kind of drainage system built into the railroad embankment by the NYW&B. This same system, according to the Pelham Village engineer drains water from as far away as New Rochelle, and runs into Pelham, around Third Avenue. Pelham Village has been trying to get some of the New Rochelle water diverted, to reduce bad weather flooding in downtown Pelham.
-it thus appears that demolition of the Bridge will cause serious drainage problems for the immediate Highbrook Avenue area (which is a low spot) and also will exacerbate flooding problems in Pelham closer to the Hutchinson River.
-Advocates for removal of the Bridge and construction of housing now have another problem -- drainage of spring water -- to add to drainage of flood water to solve, before demolition of the Bridge could become a reality.
-the Village Board is being asked to fund a study of the drainage issue, and seek a grant application for possible mitigation.
-There may be Hydraulic as well as Historic reasons why the Bridge should be preserved.
-I don't think much as been written about the role of the lowly sewer in the building and operation of the NYW&B. Obviously, all railroads need to deal with drainage. The NYW&B, because it made so many extra cuts and fills to avoid grade crossings and maintain a level profile, must have had many more drainage issues than the average railroad on flat ground. Also, most of the early NYW&B (up to 1921) was built on undeveloped ground, where the natural springs and streams still flowed,l rather than in built up aread with developed storm and sanitary sewers. Anyone have information about how the NYW&B dealt with drainage?