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Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Traffic backs up in the construction zone on Fresh Pond Road at the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue on Feb. 23.

With traffic nightmares and struggling businesses surrounding the Metropolitan Avenue bridge deck repair project in Middle Village, officials from the Department of Transportation went to Glendale to personally update Community Board 5 with the latest details.

At a Feb. 27 meeting of Board 5’s Transportation Committee, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia and Deputy Commissioner Jason Banrey addressed the controversial project and tried to reassure the committee and frustrated residents that the work will get done.

According to Banrey, the DOT has now narrowed its choices down to four possible contractors.

“These are individuals that we’ve done work like this type of project before,” Banrey said. “We’re confident in their ability to finish before the end of the year.”

Banrey added that DOT is still aiming to have the construction completed in August, and one of the biggest components of the selection process is being sure the new contractor can meet that deadline. The choice should be made by the end of next week, Banrey said, and the department will “move forward aggressively” to pick up where the last contractor left off.

One resident spoke up about how frustrating it is to live in the vicinity of Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road, saying they “get the runaround” from the DOT. Banrey responded by saying, “We’ve heard it loud and clear. Any time you guys bring it to my email attention, or calls or anything, they hear about it downtown. We’re pushing just as hard as you guys.”

The 24-hour traffic enforcement agents at the construction site were also brought up during the meeting. Banrey encouraged people to let him know if the agents are ever absent so that he can alert the NYPD. The committee then expressed a need for an additional agent to the east of the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road.

Earlier in the day on Feb. 27, Councilman Robert Holden sent a letter to the DOT for good measure to emphasize the importance of expediting this project.

“I am extremely frustrated with DOT’s inability to provide answers and its continued practice of apathy while the livelihood of my constituents is at risk,” Holden said in the letter. “My constituents have waited long enough to see this project finished and I am not interested in DOT’s excuses; I want to see action.”

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