December 22, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $159 Million Project to Reconstruct Van Wyck Expressway

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $159...

Project Completes Second Phase of $400 Million Kew Gardens Interchange Transformation

Click Here to View a Portion of the Completed Project at Hoover Avenue

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced completion of a $159 million project to reconstruct the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens. The project, which is aimed at greatly reducing congestion and easing traffic flow, is part of the $400 million reconstruction of the Kew Gardens Interchange where the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike all intersect.

"This project is a key part in this administration's unprecedented commitment to transforming our infrastructure to meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "The reconstruction of the Van Wyck will improve its safety and reliability, allowing commuters and commercial vehicles get where they need to go quicker and without delay."

The project involved reconstructing and widening the Van Wyck Expressway between 82nd and Hillside Avenues, as well as reconstructing the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck Expressway to westbound Queens Boulevard; four bridges over the Van Wyck Expressway; the Van Wyck Expressway Bridge over the southbound entrance ramp from Main Street; and the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Main Street. An extra lane on the Van Wyck Expressway between the Grand Central Parkway and Queens Boulevard and a dedicated exit lane on the southbound Van Wyck Expressway to Hillside Avenue were also built.

Additionally, the project included the construction of a new bridge to carry Queens Boulevard over the Van Wyck Expressway while maintaining traffic on the Boulevard and Expressway, ensuring pedestrian access as well as the safety of workers and the driving public. As part of the widening of the Van Wyck Expressway, a new highway wall was also constructed only feet from the E/F subway line, a challenging operation.

Finally, a new pedestrian tunnel was built at the Briarwood subway station with two separate entrances, including an Americans with Disability Act compliant elevator, as well as three pedestrian plazas and landscaping along Queens Boulevard.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "A modern transportation infrastructure is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s initiative to create jobs and stimulate the State’s economy. The improvements at the Kew Gardens Interchange have already begun to provide improved operations and a quicker, safer ride, enabling people and goods to get to where they need to be faster."

Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. said, "The project to completely reconstruct the Van Wyck Expressway will reap countless benefits on New Yorkers who travel this roadway each and every day. Investments in our city’s infrastructure lead to more opportunities that help New York flourish, and the renovations completed to this major corridor will be felt by millions. Not only did the Van Wyck Expressway receive much needed repairs – including the addition of an extra lane to help ease traffic congestion near the major interchange of the Grand Central Parkway – but the project created jobs and the residents who live near the Briarwood subway station located next to the Van Wyck will now have access to a tunnel making it safer for them to walk in and around the station. I thank the NYS Department of Transportation for their continued dedication to New York City’s infrastructure and look forward to working with the agency on future projects."

Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz said, "Investing in our infrastructure is essential to the growth and sustainability of our community. The revitalization of the Van Wyck Expressway not only enhances traffic flow, but makes for a safer and more environmentally friendly trip. These improvements are a huge win for my constituents and all commuters and commercial riders who utilize the roadway."

Council Member Karen Koslowitz said, "The Kew Gardens interchange has been a bottleneck and source of frustration for decades. The completion of this much needed road work will ensure a smoother, safer traffic flow through this area where the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike all come together. This improvement will eliminate one item from my constituents list of complaints for 2017."

Council Member Rory Lancman said, "The completion of the Van Wyck reconstruction project represents not just an easing of congestion for thousands of my constituents, but our ability as a state to get big things done. The Briarwood community is extremely grateful to Governor Cuomo for tearing down red tape and bureaucracy to get big things done, and for doing them right here in Queens."

The project is the second in a series of three projects that aim to widen the Van Wyck Expressway between 72nd Avenue and Main Street and add an extra lane in each direction. When completed, traffic will flow more smoothly and safely at the merge of the Grand Central Parkway with the Van Wyck Expressway, as well as at the exits for Queens Boulevard, Main Street and Hillside Avenue. The project has also involved replacing several of the bridges that spanned over the highway.

A separate $104 million project, completed earlier this year, replaced the northbound Van Wyck Expressway between Hoover and 72nd Avenues. The former two-lane viaduct was replaced with a three-lane viaduct with shoulders. The one-lane ramp connecting the eastbound Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike with the northbound Van Wyck Expressway was replaced 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.

In order to make the infrastructure more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, drainage system improvements were made, including the installation of settlement chambers and a bio-swale (natural retention) to reduce contamination from runoff to nearby Willow Lake. New LED lighting was installed and new landscaping elements were added.

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