Governor Hochul announces $83 million safety enhancement project on eastbound Long Island Expressway


New York Governor Kathy Hochul on June 10 announced the beginning of an $83 million project to enhance the safety of the eastbound Long Island Expressway (LIE).

The project aims to enhance traffic flow and reduce congestion on the eastbound LIE (I-495) between the entrance ramp from the southbound Clearview Expressway to the Exit 29 ramp to Springfield Boulevard.

Construction of a new auxiliary lane and the reconstruction of two entrance ramps and one exit ramp will be part of the project. Additionally, it aims to improve the acceleration and deceleration lanes within the project limits.

The new auxiliary lane is being constructed adjacent to the three-lane main highway. It is supposed to ease lane changing by providing a continuous lane for traffic entering and exiting the eastbound Long Island Expressway between southbound Clearview Expressway and Springfield Boulevard.

The entrance ramps from northbound Clearview Expressway and from Horace Harding Expressway at 212th Street will get realigned, along with the exit ramp to Springfield Boulevard. Additionally, the ramps’ acceleration and deceleration lanes will both get extended and the distance between the entrance ramp from Horace Harding Expressway at 212th Street and the exit ramp to Springfield Boulevard will be increased.

Another part of the project will be the construction of noise barriers along the eastbound and westbound Long Island Expressway with a total noise barrier length of 6500 feet that will reduce traffic noise for more than 300 homes.

The bridge carrying Oceania Street in Bayside over the eastbound and westbound Long Island Expressway will be replaced in order to accommodate the new eastbound auxiliary lane below. Left-turn lanes will be added on the bridge at both the northbound and southbound intersections with Horace Harding Expressway, increasing the storage capacity for left-turning vehicles in both directions.

The installation of a new pavement surface, striping, signage and traffic signals are also part of the project. The traffic signals will include optimized signal timings in order to reduce delays and backup for the left-turning vehicles at the Oceania Street and Horace Harding Expressway intersections.

Enhanced safety for pedestrians and cyclists has also been factored into the new bridge’s design and construction. New sidewalks will be constructed on both the east and west sides of the bridge. Additionally, a road safety feature will be installed on the sidewalks to separate pedestrians and bicyclists. The feature, called rumble strips, produces perceptible vibrations.

According to Hochul, this project is part of the 2023 fiscal year enacted budget’s $32.8 billion, five-year Department of Transportation capital plan to improve the state’s roads, bridges, airports, rail facilities, ports and other transit systems.

“Safety is a top priority for our transportation infrastructure, which is why we are investing in these critical enhancements along the Long Island Expressway,” Hochul said. “We remain laser-focused on making our infrastructure safer and more efficient and investing in infrastructure projects like this will ensure our communities and transportation networks across the state are well-connected.”

Other benefits from the project include the reconstruction of accessible curb ramps at both intersections of Oceania Street with Horace Harding Expressway and the installation of accessible pedestrian signals (APS), which communicate information about the “walk” and “don’t walk” cycles in a non-visual form for visually-impaired pedestrians. The existing lighting system will also be upgraded with the installation of new LED lighting on and beneath the bridge deck for better visibility. The existing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) within the project limits will also be upgraded.

“These safety enhancements on the Long Island Expressway are an important step forward in the ongoing improvement of our borough’s transportation infrastructure,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Motorists who use the LIE will soon experience safer and faster rides thanks to these enhancements.”