Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D) today announced a 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 in Queens.
The $2.5 million project, which began in November and is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year, increases the clearances of three bridges along I-278 in Queens. The work will reduce truck traffic on local streets by allowing tall trucks to stay on the highway.
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.
“This common-sense infrastructure project will improve truck access on I-278 while enhancing safety and quality of life for hardworking Queens residents,” said Cuomo. “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.”
I-278, also known as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) supports New York City’s vibrant economy, and strong truck connections to the highway are essential. This project is increasing clearances at the 31st Street, 69th Street and Broadway bridges 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.
U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley said allowing trucks to remain on the BQE will go a long way toward alleviating the congestion on local roads that burdens so many Astoria residents.
“I was proud to join our local elected officials in this effort, and I thank Governor Cuomo and the [state] Department of Transportation for working with us to deliver safer streets, reduce traffic-related pollution, and improve the overall quality of life in our community,” said Crowley.
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D- noted that with the project a long horrible nightmare for the people who live, work, travel and play in this Astoria neighborhood is finally ending.
“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,” Simotas said.
City Council Member Costa Constantinides said lowering the roadway to allow trucks to stay on the highway will bring benefits to traffic safety and the environment.
“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. Thank you to my partners in state government for helping to reach a long-term solution,” Constantinides said.