The Saw Mill River was buried beneath the City of Yonkers at the beginning of the 20th Century. “Daylighting” the river, that is, returning the river to a more natural, open-air condition, provides many community and ecological benefits, and is itself an objective for the Yonkers plan for social and economic progress. PS&S led a Project Team in creating a new urban river and park through the center of downtown Yonkers, New York.
The River will experience a wide range of flows. Common to urban watersheds, peak flooding conditions can cause very serious concerns about flash floods. Additional issues that were addressed included tidal influence in the lower part of the river, water quality management, proximity to historic and community resources, and pedestrian and traffic circulation in this downtown plaza.
THE PS&S SOLUTION
PS&S created a winning solution for the Saw Mill River Daylighting challenge. Our design included daylighting of the river within a beautiful new urban park, featuring two dynamic pools and three strategic low waterfalls. The design will make the water attractively visible and audible throughout the year, including during potentially low-flow summertime conditions. The design also preserved the existing underground flume. Peak flows will be diverted to the flume to avoid potentially hazardous flooding in the new park, and make economical re-use of the existing, viable asset.
The Saw Mill River Daylighting project received the following awards:
2013 Building Design + Construction: Special Recognition Winner
2013 Engineering News Record Best 2013 Project Award – Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development
2013 New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award
2012 American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey (ACEC-NJ) Honor Award for Engineering Excellence / Environmental Category
The Saw Mill River Daylighting project was featured in the following publications:
New York Times - August 2012 Feature Article-Real Estate: Restored River a Boon to Yonkers-Saw Mill River Daylighting
Civil Engineering Magazine-May 2012 Feature Article-Urban Renewal - City Revives Buried River - Daylighting the Saw Mill River
The Journal News - December 2011 Feature Article-Saw Mill River Celebrates Some ‘Daylighting’ in Yonkers
Wall Street Journal - December 2011 Feature Article-Return of NY Saw Mill River, Buried 90 Years, Celebrated
Associated Press- November 2011 Feature Article-City in New York Uncovering Buried Saw Mill River for New Park