BY JOE MARVILLI
Commuters will have to deal with two more years of traffic and construction in the heart of the Borough.
The Kew Gardens Interchange Project’s completion date is scheduled for 2016, an additional delay on a major reconstruction that is already running two years longer than originally planned. The update was announced at a town hall at Samaritan Village Rehabilitation Center in Briarwood on April 30.
The massive project, which has been underway since summer 2010, is renovating streets and highways at the nexus of where the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike meet. Those roadways are frequently congested with gridlock, a problem the project looks to alleviate.
The work is split into two stages. The first stage, with an estimated price tag of $146 million, will widen the Van Wyck Expressway, reconstruct six bridges, build pedestrian plazas on Queens Boulevard and revamp entrances to the Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard subway station. The second part, costing around $112 million, will create additional lanes on the Van Wyck and Jackie Robinson.
During the town hall, the State Dept. of Transportation said the project’s delays were caused by the recent rough winter. More than 40 people attended the meeting, including elected officials.
“Open and honest dialogue is key to paving smooth roads between the community and government agencies performing important work,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said.
Civic groups were also pleased with the dialogue and outcome of the forum.
“The meeting allows the public to be informed and vent its frustration with the long duration and hardship of the project,” Ada Vernon, President of the Briarwood Action Network, said.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.