Report: LIE Widening Possible – QNS.com

Report: LIE Widening Possible

The proposed installation of HOV lanes on the Long Island Expressway between the Cross Island Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway is sending local elected officials and civic groups to their battle stations.
New construction proposals released by the state DOT, and obtained by The Queens Courier, contain plans that could potentially widen the LIE roadway system by one-third — from six to eight lanes. If implemented, these plans would place adjacent homes an additional 12 to 15 feet closer to the busy expressway in Community Boards 7 (Flushing) and 11 (Bayside and Little Neck).
Upon completion, the new system would extend HOV lanes westbound, nearly seven miles from Nassau County into central Queens. Work would be expected to start in 2010.
The proposed widening program was contained in a September 2004 report that detailed plans for the routine maintenance of the roadway, but with five added construction proposals entitled “operational improvements.”
DOT spokesperson Lisa Kuhner called the report a detailed examination of a wide variety of alternative programs before entering into the final design stage.
The five project alternatives are successively complex, ranging from routine drainage improvements and bridge repairs, to a more complex installation of a 5.3-mile fourth lane in each direction. Project costs vary: $24 million for the routine repairs versus $400 million for the extra lanes.
Assemblyman Mark Weprin described his community as “very concerned with the alternate proposals.” His office has begun a detailed analysis of the DOT’s proposals, and their impact on quality of life issues.
Community Board 11’s District Manager Susan Seinfeld said that while roadway, ramp and bridge repairs were necessary, “adding a fourth lane on the LIE would not be a popular proposal.”
An estimated 150,000 motorists per day drive along this 5.3-mile stretch, fueled by 5,600 vehicles during morning and evening peak hours.
Victor Ross is a freelance writer.

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