Aims To Stop Overnight Accidents
Hoping to prevent future deadly accidents on the off-ramp of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it would close the span’s outer roadway on overnights indefinitely.
The single-lane, Queens-bound outer roadway of the bridge is now closed to all vehicular traffic each day from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning.
This shutdown includes the offramp from the outer roadway to Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street, where a number of vehicles exiting the bridge have crashed in recent years-many of which had fatal consequences.
Most recently, early on the morning of Dec. 10, off-duty P.O. Elisa Toro of the 17th Precinct died when her car struck a guardrail and a concrete barrier while turning on the exit ramp, then flipped over and slammed into a vacant Queens Plaza South storefront.
Closing the Queens-bound outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge will reduce “the potential for speeding and other unsafe nighttime driving when the lane is underused, while providing sufficient capacity for traffic volumes on the inner and upper roadways at all times of the day,” according to the DOT announcement.
The closure took effect at 9 p.m. Monday night, Dec. 30. The DOT decided to take this action following “a review of existing safety measures, traffic volumes and traffic speeds” following the Dec. 10 accident, it was noted.
“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 Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
Among the traffic control devices installed by the DOT at the Long Island City foot of the bridge include signage posting a 20 mph speed limit, special “sharks teeth” markings on the roadways, reflectors on the bridge structure and dividers; and rumble strips imbedded in the pavement to caution drivers to slow down.
News of the outer roadway closure was welcomed by State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who-with City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and other lawmakers-have publicly called on the DOT to take measures increasing the safety at the Long Island City location.
“I applaud the DOT for finally giving this dangerous stretch of road the attention it deserves,” Gianaris said in a statement issued last Tuesday. “Hopefully, the nighttime closure of the Queens-bound outer roadway will provide the time for a proper evaluation of the street design coming off the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp so we can eventually solve this problem once and for all.”