By Ivan Pereira
After five years of work, the city has completed a multimillion-dollar project that will help alleviate the flooding problems in southeast Queens.
Elected officials, community activists and others said the underground reconstruction project at 99th and 110th avenues in Jamaica and St. Albans has been needed for years because the area floods easily during rainstorms.
The $62.8 million project, which was undertaken by the city Departments of Environmental Protection, Design and Construction and Transportation, included the installation of nearly 3 miles of new underground storm sewers, according to DEP.
“Maintaining and upgrading our vast underground water and sewer network can significantly improve the quality of life for New Yorkers,” DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway said in a statement.
The largest component of the project, which began in 2006, is the 48-inch steel water main that was added to the sewer system as a way to improve water pressure and minimize disruptions during future work, the agency said. The main works like a trunk of a tree and leads into distribution mains, according to DEP.
Two miles of sanitary sewers were also installed to handle sewage from properties, officials said.
More than 280 catch basins and 240 manholes were also installed to collect the stormwater from the street. Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick said residents in southeast Queens have had to deal with flooding problems because the area has a high water table.
“It was long overdue, but the community is pleased. We’ve been waiting for years to get relief from the flooding condition, especially at 177th Street and Liberty Avenue near the underpass,” she said in a statement.
The sewer systems that were created decades ago were not meant to deal with the rising water underneath, according to specialists.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) also welcomed the new sewers and said it would bring major benefits to the community.
“The water main replacement work and the upgrading of storm and sanitary sewers will reduce flooding and sewer backups, and increase the reliability and capacity of the area’s water distribution network,” Smith said in a statement.
“The completion of the $62.8 million project consisting of water main replacement and the upgrading of our storm and sanitary sewers in southeast Queens marks a major victory for the long-suffering residents of South Jamaica and St. Albans,” Comrie said in a statement.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.