Those driving down Woodhaven Boulevard may have noticed the construction being done on the train trestle near Eliot Avenue.
In 2012, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, in partnership with the Long Island Rail Road, began renovating the overpass that may soon house the Elmhurst station on the Port Washington line that has been proposed to make a comeback.
The $4 million project involves typical track upkeep. LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said restoration of the trestle requires waterproofing the upper decks, new drainage installations, new bearings, bridge feet and structural steel.
Normally, the LIRR will send major projects out for bid to private construction firms. This project, however, is being completed entirely by LIRR construction crews.
While the project may eventually lead to a new train station, some residents have grown frustrated with the temporary dividers and sectioned-off portions of the busy roadway.
“I respect what they’re doing here and maybe in a few years it will be better, but it’s so crowded here,” said Samuel Hendericks, an Elmhurst resident. “To walk down the block you either have to cross to the other side or be pushed up against the wall and go down this really thin walkway. Not to mention, it’s ugly.”
The construction has led to minor bottlenecks during rush hour, but the MTA reported that it hasn’t received any complaints.
“There is construction everywhere in the city. It seems kind of silly to complain about this one thing that may actually benefit us in the long run but not get angry over all of the building developments that are popping up all over Queens Boulevard,” Christina Meyer, a Forest Hills resident, said. “It sucks but if it becomes a train, I think we’ll all be thankful that this work is being done.”
At the end of June, the LIRR agreed to fund and conduct a survey on the proposed Elmhurst station. No finalized plans have been made.
Arena said that the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2014. Some of the upper-deck work has already been completed and the work will continue on the east side of the bridge for an undetermined amount of time.