Work is nearly halfway done on the Kew Gardens Interchange and the project may actually finish ahead of schedule.
In a presentation to the Borough Board on Monday night, Department of Transportation Director of Government Relations Charles O’Shea and construction supervisor Craig Ruyle laid out the construction plans for the coming winter months and gave an update on the project’s status.
The massive undertaking is split into two contracts, with the first one involving a reconstruction of a half-mile section of the Van Wyck Expressway between 86th Avenue and the Grand Central Parkway as well as a section of Queens Boulevard over the Van Wyck.
The first contract allows for reconstruction of six bridges, including the Queens Boulevard bridge over the Van Wyck. The rebuilding of the bridge will allow space for pedestrian green spaces as well.
“Queens Boulevard is skewed, but the bridge won’t be,” Ruyle said. “There will be extra room on top of the bridge that will have plaza areas and pedestrian areas.”
That project began in July 2010 and involves the construction of a new Briarwood subway station entrance and pedestrian tunnel, scheduled to open in January.
The target completion date for the first contract is January 2016 and is approximately 46 percent finished, according to Ruyle.
The second contract, which began in April 2012, involves the construction of a new, two-lane ramp from Union Turnpike to the north-bound Van Wyck, as well as the installation of retaining walls and drainage structures.
This section of the interchange project is approximately 40 percent complete and will be finished “way before February of 2017,” Ruyle noted.
According to the DOT, approximately 500,000 vehicles traverse the interchange roadways each day.