Massive $937 Kew Gardens Interchange reconstruction project lands second transportation infrastructure award

Kew Gardens Interchange
Governor Kathy Hochul announces the $937 million Kew Gardens Interchange has won a transportation infrastructure award for a second time.
Courtesy of NYSDOT

Generations of motorists in central Queens would scoff at the notion of “award” being used in the same sentence as Kew Gardens Interchange, but this is now true. Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Aug. 4 that the $937 million Kew Gardens Interchange reconstruction project that was completed by the State Department of Transportation last winter was recognized with an award at the 2023 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

The Kew Gardens Interchange project was named a winner of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials region in the “Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Large Project” category. This year, 36 state transportation departments participated in the competition, nominating 81 total projects.

“The Department of Transportation’s Kew Gardens Interchange project was a massive undertaking that utilized innovation and technology to improve the transportation infrastructure in Queens, all while reducing bottlenecks and helping keep traffic moving,” Hochul said. “To be recognized on a national level for this work is a testament to our efforts to make the lives of New Yorkers better.”

The America’s Transportation Awards competition recognizes the projects and programs that make their communities better places to live, work and play. Now in its 16th year, the awards help to showcase why transportation infrastructure is so vital and, as the drivers who spent a good portion of their lives trapped in bottlenecks on the Interchange can attest, the reconstruction project that was nearly four decades in the making was indeed vital.

The award-winning project revamped one of the metropolitan area’s most heavily traveled corridors, creating faster travel times, safer merging and exiting, and more reliable connections for the hundreds of thousands of commuters, travelers, and local businesses who use it daily to reach JFK and LaGuardia airports and other key destinations throughout the region.

“The transformative Kew Gardens Interchange project has led to less congestion and enhanced safety while improving climate resiliency and promoting multi-modal transportation,” NYSDOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said. “This award belongs to all the dedicated women and men of the New York State Department of Transportation who make projects like this possible and whose focus is to advance safe transportation for all. Our sincere thanks to America’s Transportation Awards. It is an honor to have the Kew Gardens Interchange recognized as a transformative, climate-conscious project that has changed a transportation system for the better in Queens and beyond.”

The Best Use of Technology & Innovation category recognizes new technology and/or creative/innovative solutions implemented by a state department of transportation as part of a transportation project. Overall, there were three categories for the awards: Operations Excellence, Quality of Life/Community Development and Best Use of Technology & Innovation.

“I thank the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for this recognition and send my sincere congratulations to the entire New York State Department of Transportation team for their hard work on this project,” Hochul said.

The project also earned a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards competition, which was announced by the governor in April.