BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Hoping to reduce noise from passing traffic, the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) called last week on government officials to repave part of the Long Island Expressway through Maspeth and Middle Village.
The expressway was repaved with a concrete roadbed instead of asphalt during a lane expansion and roadway repairs roughly 15 years ago. The group blames the concrete roadbed for the ongoing disruptive sounds heard by homeowners and residents on the streets surrounding the thoroughfare.
“Through Maspeth, Middle Village and Elmhurst, we have a concrete roadbed. No other neighborhood along the LIE has that,” JPCA President Robert Holden said. “We have a loud, constant sound. It’s affecting our whole existence.”
Holden claims that sound meters installed near houses surrounding the expressway registered a harmful 80 decibels due to the ambient noise from the roadway. The majority of the noise, Holden explained, is from the constant thumping of tires hitting gaps in the concrete roadbed.
“The sound is horrendous,” said JPCA Treasurer Tony Nunziato. “The highway is terrible and the noise if horrific. It’s affecting our quality of life. It has to go.”
The group also took issue with the dead shrubbery and gray concrete sound barriers along the expressway.
“We look like we’re in prison,” Nunziato added. “They say that Montauk is the end, well Maspeth is the beginning. How come our entrance to Long Island is such a terrible entrance? It’s a terrible doormat.”
Holden explained that he formed a committee with then-state Senator Serphin Maltese years ago when the problem initially occurred. They were successful in getting the state Department of Transportation to install sound barriers on the southern side of the expressway. However, Holden claims the barriers are ineffective in reducing the noise experienced by the majority of homes surrounding the roadway.
Another attempt at reduce the noise included “diamond grinding” of the roadbed near the Midway Nursing Home, which helped lower noise by 20 percent, Holden claimed. The diamond grinding was halted due to faulty machinery, he noted, leaving only the small portion of the roadway ground down.
Nunziato and his fellow JPCA members called upon Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey and state Senator Joseph Addabbo to join them in the battle to repave this portion of the expressway with blacktop.
“We want this to be paved over with asphalt, which is much quieter,” Holden said. “We’re going to take on this big battle again.”