By Juan Soto
Bayside is undergoing a major underground transformation and with it some headaches for its neighbors above ground.
A massive water main replacement project is underway in the northeast Queens neighborhood to install 7,000-foot trunk water mains with a 48-inch diameter, 13,000-feet distribution mains and 657 sewer pipes.
The $20 million project is being done by the Department of Environmental Protection, along with the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Transportation, will last two years.
While construction occurs, dust, noise and heavy equipment will be an inevitable part of the landscape.
City workers began the project around the intersection between Luke Place and 216th Street, and it will travel north until it reaches the corner of 39th Avenue and 216th Street. Besides trunk and distribution water mains and sewer pipes installation, the project includes tree pruning and roadway reconstruction.
“The new water mains will improve pressure and the quality of water,” said a spokesman for DEP, “while also providing a critical redundancy to the distribution system that will help minimize disruptions during future maintenance work.”
According to the DEP, workers will also install 38 fire hydrants and 26 manholes.
The three city agencies involved in the construction alerted Bayside residents there would be water service interruptions. The city explained that to allow for water main replacement, the existing water service must be shut off by closing valves in specific sections.
The service, however, will be restored by the end of the work shift at about 3 p.m. When water shutdowns occur, neighbors receive a daily notice.
“This is a massive project,” said Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association. “For now we will be observing the levels of unnecessary inconvenience, especially when the work goes near PS 203.”
Feiner said the association gets frequent updates about the project from the community construction liaison. Feiner and other residents plan to meet with representatives from the project to raise some of their concerns about the community impact.
In the last 10 years, the city has invested about $2.5 billion to complete water main reconstruction. Out of the total amount, about $500 was set aside for projects in Queens.
Community Board 11 said the work was necessary.
City workers will also have to shut down vehicular travel lanes and put detours in place. DOT said detours will be announced before they actually take place during construction.
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.