By Bill Parry
A series of deadly car accidents on a notorious off-ramp of the Queensboro Bridge has prompted the city to close an entire lane to nighttime traffic beginning Monday.
The Queens-bound outer roadway, on the bridge’s south side, will be shut every night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The city Department of Transportation reviewed existing traffic measures following the death of an off-duty police officer two weeks ago. The DOT had installed concrete barriers, bright signs and rumble strips at the off-ramp where three cars crashed, leaving two people dead in 2011.
The DOT was urged to act by elected officials after Officer Elisa Toro, a 36-year-old mother of two, was thrown from her car and killed after crashing into one of the barriers during the early morning hours of Dec. 10. This was the third deadly accident on the off-ramp.
“This upgrade to the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge is just the latest step we’ve taken to keep the more than 180,000 daily drivers crossing safely on one of the city’s most iconic bridges,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
The move will reduce the potential for speeding and other unsafe driving when the lane is underused during overnight hours, according to the DOT.
“I applaud the DOT for finally giving this dangerous stretch of road the attention it deserves,” state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “Hopefully, we can eventually solve this problem once and for all.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.