‘It’s horrendous!’ Bayside business owners and residents rail against messy street construction projects

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

Progress is happening on the sewer and water main upgrade for Bayside and Flushing — but some residents and business owners are feeling the project’s negative effects.

Bayside resident Tony Albasini said his biggest issue is with the leftover dirt that accumulates on the streets.

“It’s horrendous, the dirt; it’s coming up [and] there’s a cloud of dust every day,” said Albasini. “They’re really not keeping up with the street cleaning. They had a street sweeper there but they only work the areas where they’re actually digging up. Anything past that is just covered.”

Albasini added that parking is at a premium now that the work has started traveling east along 38th Avenue closer to where he lives.

“We have a bunch of people that live on those blocks and now they’re parking down by us and we have to park a little further away now,” said Albasini.

“[Parking] is a pain in the neck and the meter maids are as good as they come,” said Mike, the owner of Pete & Sons Paint and Wallpaper at 36-49 Bell Blvd. “It seems like [construction workers] come for a day and then they disappear for two weeks.”

In May 2018, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) broke ground on the $62.5 million sewer and water main replacement project, which is funded by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). According to DDC, project construction includes over seven miles of new water mains, new storm and sanitary sewers and 80 new fire hydrants and catch basins.

“New water mains will help to ensure a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water [while] new catch basins and storm sewers will help to mitigate flooding,” said DDC.

The city agency has been working to install water mains “along 33rd Avenue from 156th Street to Utopia Parkway, down Utopia to 37th Avenue, across 37th to Francis Lewis Boulevard, and continuing along 38th Avenue until 216th Street.”

Construction for the project was also planned for small portions of 158th Street, Clearview Expressway Service Road West and 216th Street.

According to the project’s resident engineer, Dudley Pierre, distribution water mains have already been installed in the following areas in Bayside:

  • 216th Street from 39th Avenue to 38th Avenue
  • 38th Avenue from 216th Street to 207th Street
  • 39th Avenue from 215th Street to 216th Street

Pierre said that DDC has completed sanitary sewer work at 38th Avenue from 215th to 216th streets and sewer work is currently happening on 216th from 38th to 40th avenues. By the end of January or February, Pierre said that they would begin installing distribution water mains on 38th Avenue from 206th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard and sanitary sewer work on 38th Avenue from 215th Street toward 207th Street.

DCC said that all work is expected to be completed by 2021.

Mike of Pete and Son’s Paint and Wallpaper declined to provide his last name.