Thursday, August 26, 2010

Work Begins on Kew Gardens Interchange Upgrades

By Eric Yun

Drivers on the Kew Gardens Interchange can expect more delays, but eventually, the congestion and confu- sion on one of Queens’ busiest stretch of roads will be alleviated. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) held a ground breaking ceremony for their new $148 million re- construction project last Wednesday.

The interchange is a traffic and safety nightmare for drivers: the Van Wyck Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike all meet at the interchange.

“The Kew Gardens Interchange is one of the most tangled knots of congestion in all of New York City, impacting the economy of the city and affecting the quality of life of all Queens residents,” said NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee. “Under the leadership of Governor David Paterson, the New York State Department of Transportation has worked with elected officials and community members to develop a plan that will untangle the knots, providing a smooth, safe flow of commuters and commerce in Queens.”

The reconstruction, expected to last five years, involves adding auxiliary lanes to the Van Wyck Expressway to ease traffic between Union Turnpike and Hillside Avenue. Work will also be done on a quarter-mile stretch of Queens Boulevard over the Van Wyck Expressway. Aging bridges will also be replaced, and three pedestrian plazas will be built along Queens Boulevard and the entrance to the Briarwood/Van Wyck Boulevard subway station will be renovated.

Local politicians applauded the NYS- DOT for beginning work on the project.

“At long last, motorists will finally have easier access to the roadways that take you to the different parts of Queens,” said Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills). “As I look out my of- fice window, everyday I see the entan- glement and backup that the interchange creates. The improvements to the interchange will be a welcome relief.”

Besides making roadways safer for drivers, the construction will provide jobs for the community.

NYSDOT has future plans to improve the Van Wyck Expressway north of Jewel Avenue, and sections of Grand Central Parkway and Jackie Robinson Parkway.

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