By Bill Parry
Work is underway on a $110 million safety improvement project at the Kew Gardens Interchange, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
The project will replace the existing Van Wyck Expressway southbound viaduct over the Grand Central Parkway with a continuous three-lane viaduct. It also includes constructing new exits to the westbound Union Turnpike and Jackie Robinson Parkway and merging the Van Wyck Expressway with the Grand Central Parkway over a longer distance. This is the third of four phases of improvements that will total almost $7 million when completed.
“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. “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 on New Yorkers.”
The Kew Gardens Interchange is the complex intersection of the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike, serving more than 200,000 vehicles, daily.
“The Kew Gardens Interchange has been a motorist nightmare for decades,” City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) said. “The governor and the state DOT recognized this fact and created a reconstruction plan to correct this problem. Although the total reconstruction is not yet done, what has been completed so far has provided for a much improved ride at the northbound Van Wyck interchange. I am gratified to learn that Phase 3 of the plan —to alleviate the bottleneck at the junction of the eastbound Grand Central, the southbound Van Wyck and the Jackie Robinson — is about to begin.”
This 2½-year contract follows completion of two earlier phases at the Interchange.
“I welcome the next step in this important reconstruction project and the benefits it will bring to my constituents in Kew Gardens and the surrounding communities, many of whom have expressed their frustration to me about this section of roadway,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said. “Not only is this project putting people to work, but it is helping to ensure vital improvements to our overall Queens transportation infrastructure.”
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in work zones, In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s drivers license.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr