Photo Courtesy of Sen. Gianaris’s Office
“For over a decade, we fought to end the traffic nightmare that is Astoria Blvd. Now large trucks can remain on the highway instead of detouring into our neighborhood, providing relief for all,” Sen. Gianaris wrote on Twitter.
By Forum Staff
A State-funded project to improve access for large trucks travelling on Interstate 278 in both directions between the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Long Island Expressway, and reduce truck traffic on local borough streets, is set to wrap up by the end of the year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday.
“This common-sense infrastructure project will improve truck access on I-278 while enhancing safety and quality of life for hardworking Queens residents,” Cuomo said. “Working with the local community and truckers, we are correcting a long-standing inconvenience, improving safety and reducing congestion as well as helping trucks and area residents get around safely and more efficiently.”
Cuomo pointed out that, currently, trucks with a height of more than 12 feet, six inches traveling on I-278 are directed to exit the highway and use truck routes on local streets at Astoria Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Broadway. Higher clearances will enable the trucks to stay on the interstate and avoid local streets, the governor noted.
“A long horrible nightmare for the people who live, work, travel and play in this Astoria neighborhood is finally ending,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria). “I can’t think of a nicer gift to the community this holiday season and I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Transportation for listening to our request, acknowledging the needless suffering of this community and getting this project done in record time.”
The $2.5 million undertaking increases the clearances of three bridges along the western Queens corridor – the 31st Street, 69th Street and Broadway spans – by lowering the roadway, micro-milling the concrete pavement and lowering catch basins. The roadway will be resurfaced and striped. All signs that divert the trucks to the local streets will be removed, according to the administration.
“These improvements on I-278 in Queens will speed commerce and reduce truck traffic on local streets, in turn improving the quality of life for New York’s families,” said acting State Department of Transportation Commissioner Paul Karas.
“Lowering the roadway to allow trucks to stay on the highway will bring benefits to traffic safety and our environment,” added City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the Council Committee on Environmental Protection. “Astoria Boulevard, known for its highway feel, will experience less truck traffic to make the street feel more incorporated into the community. This will benefit our seniors and families who walk and drive along it. We all deserve access to streets without unbearable traffic congestion, loud noises, and heavy fumes.”