By Michael Morton
“The goal for this project was to really alleviate flooding conditions in the area,” said Herman Rizo of the DDC, speaking to about a dozen residents at a meeting Jan. 19. The work, which began last fall and will end in the autumn of this year, is taking place on sections of 259th Street, 148th Avenue, 148th Road, 148th Drive, 149th Avenue, 149th Road, Craft Avenue, 262nd Street, 262nd Place and Hook Creek Boulevard. The DDC is overseeing the $6.5 million project on behalf of the city Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection. Water mains in the area already have been reconstructed and many of the sanitary sewers have been replaced. The new mains will provide better water pressure for home faucets and fire hydrants, engineers said.In the last phase of the project, the contractor for the DDC, the Halycon Construction Corp. of Westchester, will install catch basins and separate storm sewers in the area and regrade the streets so that they drain properly. The storm sewer and street grading segments of the project have already begun on 259th Street and will progress outwards to the other roads. Friday workers were pouring gravel over recently laid storm sewer pipes along 259th Street. The project area in Rosedale is considered one of the last sections of the neighborhood prone to serious street flooding, residents said.”It's well overdue,” said Fred Kress, chairman of the Rosedale Civic Association. Kress mentioned the intersection of 149th Avenue and Huxley Street, a well-used block that provides access to PS 195, as another area of Rosedale that needs flood abatement work.The current work centered around 259th Street is the sixth project of its kind in the last 20 years, with $20 million to $30 million spent during that period to address street flooding, a spokesman for the DEP said. At least two more initiatives are scheduled: in the Brookville Triangle area bounded by Huxley Street, 235th Street and 149th Avenue beginning in 2006 and along Huxley and Edgewood streets in 2008. During the meeting last week, DDC engineers warned that some streets will be closed and parking regulations changed during certain parts of the current construction. They also said water will at times be turned off and cautioned residents to remove fragile items from shelves when they receive notices that a pile driver will be used to install storm sewers.Concerned residents can call the DDC's community liaison at 718-723-8490 and can send any damage claims to the city comptroller's office.”It's like a trade-off,” Kress said. “A few are concerned that there will be other problems.”DDC engineers promised the project would stop the flooding and prevent pools that can lead to the spread of the West Nile virus in the warmer months.”This will be good for the next 30 to 40 years,” said Jamal Mahmood of the DDC. “After a big rain you will see no water standing.”Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.