By Mark Hallum
The city Department of Design and Construction has agreed to expedite a sewer upgrade project in Maspeth which has been the cause of mounting concern for the past three years. Calamus Avenue is now the site of potholes, uneven sidewalks, flooding and disruptions in bus service now that the work has begun.
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) called a town hall meeting between the DDC, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection and the 104th Precinct to discuss moving forward with the construction and a completion date was set for Dec. 28 this year.
“For years, the Calamus Avenue Sewer Project altered lives around Maspeth, but I am encouraged that with this announcement will also come some peace for residents and a return to normalcy,” Crowley said. “Residents should not have to deal with blocked driveways, navigating around potholes or looking at the ground while they walk so they won’t trip — especially for years on end.”
The $25 million project has been known to bring disruptions to Q47 service during hours of construction. With crews working during the day on Saturdays, the sewers will reach completion ahead of schedule and bus service will be restored to normal, she said.
“This project has already extended well beyond schedule and it is inexcusable that the DDC continues to cause problems in residents’ daily lives,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Jr. (D-????) “I am glad that after hearing the residents the city agency will extend weekday work hours in order to complete the project by December, as pushing the date back to May 2018 would be utterly unacceptable for those who have been dealing with the project already for three years. I also think it is vital that residents in Maspeth and Woodside continue to be vocal about any quality-of-life issues that may be caused by the construction.”
The sewer project will bring much-needed upgrades to the neighborhood and surrounding areas to control water runoff and increase the capacity of the underground infrastructure.
“It is encouraging news that the projected date for the completion of the Calamus Avenue project has been moved up to address ongoing community concerns. The people of the community deserve the project completed as soon as possible,” said state Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth).
A similar DDC project in Bayside Hills had residents up in arms after a contractor defaulted on the job in 2015 only finishing 35 percent of the work. It was not until late January that the community saw relief with a new contractor being awarded the job to upgrade the neighborhood’s sewer systems, which were nearing a century of service.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall