By Naeisha Rose
Standing with Department of Transportation officials at the foot of the Woodhaven Boulevard overpass above Atlantic Avenue on Friday, City Councilman Eric Ulrich announced that he’s providing $2.125 million in city funds toward repaving streets around his district.
The Nov. 30 announcement was held at the corner of 91st Avenue and the Woodhaven Boulevard southbound service road, which was repaved two weeks ago, according to Ulrich.
“This particular overpass… it’s the main artery that runs through our community,” he said. “No matter where you live or work at some point you have to use Woodhaven Boulevard.”
Next spring, Ulrich said, the DOT will conduct more street repaving across other neighborhoods in his district, including Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the Rockaways.
“Going into the spring people will see a lot more milling and paving,” said Ulrich. “We are going to resurface and repave 10 lane miles in just my district alone.”
The Woodhaven Boulevard overpass was riddled with potholes, according to Nicole Garcia, Queens Commissioner for the DOT.
“In general, there is the routine wear and tear, but sometimes there are utility cuts that are necessary… however, utility cut after utility cut opens the road and that can lead to cracks,” said Garcia. “We have a great response time to issues, but this took some more time because it’s a bridge and we have to get the Roadways Division and the Bridges Division to work out an engineered plan to make sure that when the machines work over it we don’t put undue stress on it.”
In a rush hour spot survey conducted in the course of one day during the peak hours at the bridge, the DOT discovered that from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. 2,224 cars went northbound and from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. 1,724 drivers used it. There were 1,327 going southbound in the morning and 1,724 in the evening during the same hours.
The funds will help the DOT surpass its goals in improving roads within parts of the three community districts within the councilman’s jurisdiction.
“With this over two million dollars, we are able to go above and beyond what we have for this coming fiscal year,” Garcia said.
Ulrich acknowledged that some constituents might become a bit frustrated as the repaving projects are underway.
“They will be inconvenienced temporarily, but they will be happy with the final product,” said Ulrich. “We want people to have a good quality of life and be safe when they are driving.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose