Get ready for more traffic tie-ups on the Middle Village/Ridgewood border next week as the long-delayed Metropolitan Avenue Bridge deck replacement project resumes in high gear.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, work crews will once again cut Metropolitan Avenue at Fresh Pond Road in half, with one lane in each direction just to the east of the intersection. Workers will continue rebuilding the bridge on the north side of the avenue at the former gas station, which will cause detours and bus route changes.
Work associated with Stage 1 of this project first began in February — seven months after the original project start date — but was halted during the summer as Metropolitan Avenue was widened in order to accommodate the shuttle buses and added traffic due to the shutdown of the M train.
The remainder of Stage 1 is expected to last six months, from Sept. 26 to March 2018.
Although work was paused on the bridge deck for two months, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said, construction crews made some improvements below the deck, examining the steel structure of the bridge that spans the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) tracks underneath.
As the project gets back underway next week, major traffic changes will be coming with it, including the following:
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) indicated that there will be two types of traffic diversions: one for all vehicles and one for trucks and all buses, including school buses;
- There will also be Traffic Control Agents stationed at three locations 24/7 for the duration of the project;
- Relocated bus stops for the Q54, Q38, and @67 buses;
- Restricted parking along Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road;
- A new temporary pedestrian sidewalk from Metropolitan Avenue to Fresh Pond Road; and
- A change in the direction of traffic on 60th Lane and a new temporary traffic signal installed at 60th Lane and Metropolitan Avenue.
All passenger vehicles — including trucks, buses and school buses — will not be permitted to make a left onto Metropolitan Avenue from Fresh Pond Road. Instead, drivers are to take Fresh Pond Road southbound to 62nd Avenue where they can take advantage of 60th Lane’s new southbound direction to get eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue.
Trucks and all buses will no longer be allowed to make a right turn onto Metropolitan Avenue from Fresh Pond Road. Instead, they are to turn right on 62nd Avenue and take that road to Metropolitan Avenue westbound.
Right turns onto Fresh Pond Road from Metropolitan Avenue will also be restricted for trucks and all buses. They must continue westbound on Metropolitan Avenue and turn right on 60th Place, right again on 62nd Avenue and link northbound on Fresh Pond Road.
Trucks and all buses will not be allowed to make a right turn onto Metropolitan Avenue from Fresh Pond Road, but must continue northbound on Fresh Pond Road to Eliot Avenue where they will travel to 69th Street to turn eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue.
“I’m hoping the contractor gets back to work respectfully, strongly, and with consistency,” Giordano said. “This is a very important intersection, a very busy intersection and we don’t need it narrowed any longer than it needs to be.”
Mass transit users will not be spared from the headaches of detours.
The Q54 stops at Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road, in both directions, have been removed. As an alternative, passengers can catch their bus at the previous or next stop on the route. Jamaica-bound passengers may use the stop at Metropolitan Avenue and 61st Street or the stop at Metropolitan Avenue and Admiral Avenue. Brooklyn-bound passengers may use the stop near the CVS Pharmacy on Metropolitan Avenue or Metropolitan Avenue and 65th Street.
DOT has announced that the Corona-bound Q38 bus will no longer turn right from westbound Metropolitan Avenue onto northbound Fresh Pond Road. Instead, the Q38 will continue along Metropolitan Avenue to 60th Place, then turn right onto 60th Place and continue to Eliot Avenue. The bus will then turn right onto Eliot Avenue and continue along its normal route.
The Rego Park-bound Q38 will no longer use Fresh Pond Road. Instead, it will continue on Eliot Avenue traveling past Fresh Pond Road to 60th Lane. It will then turn left onto 60th Lane and travel one block to Metropolitan Avenue. It will turn left onto Metropolitan Avenue and continue its route. The bus stop at Metropolitan Avenue and 61st Street can now be used by Q38 riders.
The Q67 stops have been relocated to Metropolitan Avenue and 61st Street and outside of the CVS Pharmacy on Metropolitan Avenue.
To assist with all the detours, and bus stop changes, Traffic Control Agents will be stationed at Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue; 62nd Road and Fresh Pond Road; and 62nd Street and Metropolitan Avenue.
There are two additional route changes for trucks and buses, but they will not go into effect for six to eight months.
For inquiries about the project, reach out to the Community Construction Liaison, Nancy Catapano, at 718-869-1428 or by email at FreshPondMetroBridgeDeck2017[@]gmail.com to be added to the notification network.