The third phase of repairs to Queens’ busiest interchange is underway, as Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that crews have begun rebuilding exits and a viaduct on the southbound Van Wyck Expressway at the Kew Gardens Interchange.
“Our transformative investments in roads and bridges help support economic growth across New York, and the Kew Gardens Interchange project will revitalize deteriorating infrastructure and support the vitality of the Queens community,” Cuomo said in a Sept. 26 statement. “The third phase of this major project will expand upon the improvements already accomplished with the first two legs, and will help ensure this roadway can meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
The Kew Gardens Interchange is the complex intersection that includes the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike. Serving more 200,000 vehicles daily, the state Transportation Department has spent the last several years making roadway improvements to enhance safety and improve traffic flow.
Phase III of construction will replace the existing deteriorated two-lane Van Wyck Expressway southbound viaduct over the Grand Central Parkway with a continuous three-lane viaduct. New exits to the westbound Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway will be built and the three lanes from the Van Wyck Expressway will also merge with two lanes from the Grand Central Parkway over a longer distance.
“I am pleased to learn that Phase III of the Kew Gardens Interchange construction project is now underway,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “This initiative will improve safety and road conditions and I thank the governor and NYS DOT for continuing to move it forward. It is essential that we continue to invest in critical infrastructure throughout our borough.”
The first two phases of the interchange project have been completed. Phase I included widening a portion of the Van Wyck Expressway, and rehabilitating the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck to westbound Queens Boulevard, four bridges over the Van Wyck, the Van Wyck Expressway overpass at Main Street and the Queens Boulevard overpass over Main Street.
The first phase of the project also added auxiliary lanes on both the northbound and southbound Van Wyck between the Grand Central Parkway and Main Street and provided a dedicated exit lane southbound to Hillside Avenue.
Phase II of the project added a new, wider northbound Van Wyck Expressway viaduct, which will carry three travel lanes once Phase III is complete. Phase II also replaced the one-lane entrance ramp connecting the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike with the northbound Van Wyck Expressway with a new two-lane ramp.
In addition, a new deck was installed on the eastbound Union Turnpike bridge over the Grand Central Parkway connector ramps, and a new deck and steel girders were installed on the bridge where Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway merge.
Phase IV is currently in the preliminary engineering/environmental phase. The design-build procurement process is scheduled to start in November.
“The start of a new construction project to improve the Kew Gardens interchange is great news for my constituents and our local community,” Councilman Rory Lancman said. “Modern infrastructure is key to a thriving economy, and this project will further reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety. I commend Governor Cuomo for continuing to make the reconstruction of the interchange a top priority.”
Click here for more information about the project.