STREETS & HIGHWAYS/Overpass project will boost safety, cut congestion
The New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT) is replacing eight steel overpass bridges as part of a $130 million project to rebuild and improve the Long Island Expressway (LIE). The NYDOT expects the project to improve traffic conditions on the expressway and in neighboring communities.
The rehabilitation project, which began August 2000, involves the reconstruction of 40-year-old overpasses along a two-mile stretch of the LIE between Exit 29 (Springfield Boulevard) and Exit 32 (Little Neck Parkway). The NYDOT will remove what it calls “critical weaving areas” (locations with multiple exit and entrance ramps) that produce a high number of accidents and a high rate of congestion.
In 2000, the NYDOT contracted with Lancaster, Pa.-based High Steel Structures (HSS) to provide steel for the bridges. HSS is replacing existing ramps and constructing new ramps to provide safer, more efficient traffic flow within the interchange to eliminate the dangerous areas. The company also has constructed 15 tub girders for three of the overpasses.
Four of the bridges have been replaced. During construction, the NYDOT kept LIE traffic off adjacent service roads and local streets by converting existing shoulder areas to entrance/exit/breakdown lanes. The NYDOT also rerouted traffic by switching the open lanes as the bridges have been opened and closed.
The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2003, will include the placement of increased signage, the construction of pedestrian underpasses, the implementation of a motorist alert system and the addition of lighting. The NYDOT also plans to restore 12 acres of the adjacent Alley Pond Park by removing two existing highway loop ramps that separate the park into segments.