Project Will Replace Deteriorated Southbound Van Wyck Expressway Viaduct and Construct New Exits
Phases I and II Included Widening of Van Wyck Expressway and Construction of New Northbound Viaduct
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the $110 million Phase III construction project at the Kew Gardens Interchange in central Queens is underway. The project will replace the existing deteriorated two-lane Van Wyck Expressway southbound viaduct over the Grand Central Parkway with a continuous three-lane viaduct, and construct new exits to the westbound Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. The three lanes from the Van Wyck Expressway will also merge with two lanes from the Grand Central Parkway over a longer distance. This two-and-a-half-year contract follows completion of two earlier phases at the Interchange.
"Our transformative investments in roads and bridges help support economic growth across New York, and the Kew Gardens Interchange project will revitalize deteriorating infrastructure and support the vitality of the Queens community," Governor Cuomo said. "The third phase of this major project will expand upon the improvements already accomplished with the first two legs, and will help ensure this roadway can meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers."
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said, "With the third phase of extensive improvements taking place at the Kew Gardens Interchange, we are one step closer to realizing Governor Cuomo's vision along this extremely important corridor in New York City. When traffic moves efficiently, goods get to their destination faster, people get to work and the local airports on time, and tourists can readily reach the many fantastic destinations that New York City and New York State have to offer."
As was the case with the new northbound viaduct constructed in Phase II, the new southbound viaduct will be constructed with a new jointless design to minimize water damage to the steel beams, providing a longer service life and reducing maintenance costs. The roadway deck also will be constructed with stainless steel rebar to minimize deck deterioration from road salt.
The Kew Gardens Interchange is the complex intersection of the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike, serving over 200,000 vehicles daily. The New York State Department of Transportation is making a number of operational improvements with four construction contracts at the interchange worth almost $700 million. The four phases of the project are enhancing safety and improving traffic flow on Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway), the Grand Central Parkway, and Jackie Robinson Parkway by eliminating a bottleneck that has existed for many years.
The completed Phase I project included widening a portion of the Van Wyck Expressway, and rehabilitating the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck to westbound Queens Boulevard, four bridges over the Van Wyck, the Van Wyck Bridge over Main Street and the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Main Street. This project also included constructing auxiliary lanes on both the northbound and southbound Van Wyck between the Grand Central Parkway and Main Street and provided a dedicated exit lane southbound to Hillside Avenue.
The Phase II project, also complete, constructed a new, wider northbound Van Wyck Expressway viaduct, which will carry three travel lanes once Phase III is complete. In addition, it replaced the one-lane entrance ramp connecting the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike with the northbound Van Wyck Expressway with a new two-lane ramp. A new deck was installed on the eastbound Union Turnpike bridge over the Grand Central Parkway connector ramps, and a new deck and steel girders were installed on the bridge where Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway merge.
Phase IV is currently in the preliminary engineering/environmental phase and the Design Build procurement process is scheduled to start November 2017.
Congresswoman Grace Meng said, "I am pleased to learn that Phase III of the Kew Gardens Interchange construction project is now underway. This initiative will improve safety and road conditions and I thank the governor and NYS DOT for continuing to move it forward. It is essential that we continue to invest in critical infrastructure throughout our borough."
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. said, "I welcome the next step in this important reconstruction project and the benefits it will bring to my constituents in Kew Gardens and the surrounding communities, many of whom have expressed their frustration to me about this section of roadway. Not only is this project putting people to work, but it is helping to ensure vital improvements to our overall Queens transportation infrastructure."
Senator Leroy Comrie said, "I am glad to see that construction is beginning on Phase III of this long-awaited project. These improvements to the Kew Gardens Interchange will make commuting safer and quicker for the countless New Yorkers who pass through it each day. I thank the Governor for his commitment to reconstructing and revitalizing our state's transportation infrastructure."
Council Member Karen Koslowitz said, "The Kew Gardens interchange has been a motorist nightmare for decades. The Governor and the state DOT recognized this fact and created a reconstruction plan to correct this problem. Although the total reconstruction is not yet done, what has been completed so far has provided for a much improved ride at the northbound Van Wyck interchange. I am gratified to learn that Phase 3 of the plan, to alleviate the bottleneck at the junction of the eastbound Grand Central, the southbound Van Wyck and the Jackie Robinson, is about to begin."
Council Member Rory Lancman said, "The start of a new construction project to improve the Kew Gardens interchange is great news for my constituents and our local community. Modern infrastructure is key to a thriving economy, and this project will further reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety. I commend Governor Cuomo for continuing to make the reconstruction of the interchange a top priority."
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in work zones. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver's license.
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