Photo Courtesy of the Governor’s Office
This image is a glimpse of the completed Phase II project at Hoover Avenue overlooking the northbound Van Wyck Expressway.
By Forum Staff
A $159 million project to reconstruct the Van Wyck Expressway at the Kew Gardens Interchange has been completed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Thursday.
The project, which is aimed at greatly reducing congestion and easing traffic flow, is part of the $400 million transformation of the Kew Gardens Interchange where the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike all intersect.
According to Cuomo and the State Department of Transportation, the project involved reconstructing and widening the Van Wyck Expressway between 82nd and Hillside avenues, as well as reconstructing the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck to westbound Queens Boulevard; four bridges over the Van Wyck; the Van Wyck Expressway Bridge over the southbound entrance ramp from Main Street; and the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Main Street. An extra lane on the Van Wyck Expressway between the Grand Central Parkway and Queens Boulevard and a dedicated exit lane on the southbound Van Wyck Expressway to Hillside Avenue were also built, Cuomo said.
Additionally, the project included the construction of a new bridge to carry Queens Boulevard over the Van Wyck Expressway while maintaining traffic on the boulevard and expressway, ensuring pedestrian access as well as the safety of workers and the driving public. As part of the widening of the Van Wyck Expressway, a new highway wall was also constructed only feet from the E/F subway line, a challenging operation.
Finally, a new pedestrian tunnel was built at the Briarwood subway station with two separate entrances, including an Americans with Disability Act-compliant elevator, as well as three pedestrian plazas and landscaping along Queens Boulevard.
The project is the second in a series of three projects that aim to widen the Van Wyck Expressway between 72nd Avenue and Main Street and add an extra lane in each direction. When completed, traffic will flow more smoothly and safely at the merge of the Grand Central Parkway with the Van Wyck Expressway, as well as at the exits for Queens Boulevard, Main Street and Hillside Avenue. The project has also involved replacing several of the bridges that spanned over the highway.
“The project to completely reconstruct the Van Wyck Expressway will reap countless benefits on New Yorkers who travel this roadway each and every day,” said State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “Investments in our city’s infrastructure lead to more opportunities that help New York flourish, and the renovations completed to this major corridor will be felt by millions. Not only did the Van Wyck Expressway receive much needed repairs – including the addition of an extra lane to help ease traffic congestion near the major interchange of the Grand Central Parkway – but the project created jobs and the residents who live near the Briarwood subway station located next to the Van Wyck will now have access to a tunnel making it safer for them to walk in and around the station. I thank the NYS Department of Transportation for their continued dedication to New York City’s infrastructure and look forward to working with the agency on future projects.”