2004-02-25 / Features

Most Of BQE Upgrade To Be Completed By Sept.

Most Of BQE Upgrade To Be Completed By Sept.

Most Of BQE Upgrade To Be Completed By Sept.

According to a report from the office of Mark McClellan and Craig Ruyle, engineers from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), most of the work on the massive Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Upgrade Project is on pace to be completed by September of this year.

McClellan and Ruyle met last week with residents at the White Castle district headquarters at 69th Street and 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights to discuss the latest developments in the two-year-long project to bring improvements to the northern reaches of this artery connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

NYSDOT figures state that approximately 83 percent of all scheduled work has been completed.

Since last October, all the major bridges to be replaced have been demolished and replacement foundations and walls for all new structures have been built. Nine of the 13 bridges along the roadway have been fully completed and the remaining four are nearing the final stages of completion.

The construction of a concrete wall and the installation of a pumping station designed to alleviate flooding in the 35th Avenue tunnel on the BQE are also continuing at the intersection of 35th Avenue and 69th Street.

According to the report, girders have been installed on the BQE–Northern Boulevard overpass and precast beams for the airport connector bridge at 31st Avenue have been set.

Slated for the upcoming months is smaller scale work such as completion of sidewalks, pavement and medians.

Larger elements of the final construction phase are centered around the Grand Central Parkway–BQE interchange, between 31st and 32nd Avenues, and will include the continuation of construction at the BQE–Northern Boulevard interchange, the placement of concrete bridge decks at Northern Boulevard and 31st Avenue, the erection of steel supports for the 32nd Avenue Bridge, and the finalization of construction on a viaduct to run between Northern Boulevard and 31st Avenue.

A new entrance ramp to the Triborough Bridge Connector will also be constructed at 68th Street.

At last October’s update meeting, several residents in attendance expressed concern over quality of life issues, including pigeon droppings and noise control in the neighborhoods adjacent to the construction sites.

According to McClellan, lights and pigeon spikes will be installed in all pedestrian areas to deter birds from nesting again in the newly constructed overpasses.

"The noise issue wasn’t raised at this meeting and seems to have been a problem when we were working at night. Since we aren’t doing much work at night, it doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore," McClellan said.

Public inquiries about the BQE Upgrade Project may be directed to Public Affairs Assistant Director, Lisa Kuhner. She can be contacted at 718-482-4526, or by e-mail at lkuhner@gw.dot.state.ny.us.—Jeremy Miller

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