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Queens Chronicle

City readies extensive water main project

New pipes to be installed in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill

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Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:35 am, Thu Jan 10, 2013.

For many streets in Central and South Queens, the next couple of years are going to be quite dirty.

The city Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Design and Construction announced it would begin work this spring on a $14 million, two-year project to replace almost 13 miles of water mains in Queens.

The project, which is slated to begin in March and be completed by 2015, aims to alleviate water distribution and replace aging mains. Most of the water mains in the neighborhoods are more than 60 years old. The work includes the replacement of 20-inch, 12-inch and 8-inch diameter water mains that serve residential and commercial properties.The new distribution system will also replace dead ends with looped mains, improving water quality by ensuring that it is always moving. The work will be done in phases, with each phase’s duration depending on the size of the project. The DDC has not finalized which streets will be the first ones to be repaired.

“Public health and the future growth of New York City are contingent on having an adequate supply of high quality water and over the last decade we have invested $10.5 billion to upgrade our water supply and distribution systems,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.“By installing nearly 13 miles of new water mains, we will ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting, basic sanitation, and clean drinking water for these Queens neighborhoods for decades to come.”

Most of the work will be done in Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, but two streets in Jamaica Estates have also been eyed for water main replacement.

Some of the work will be done on major thoroughfares, including Queens Boulevard between 69th Avenue and Union Turnpike; Union Turnpike between Utopia Parkway and 164th Street; Metropolitan Avenue between 85th and Hillside avenues; Myrtle Avenue between 111th Street and Park Lane South; Hillside Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway; Jamaica Avenue between 107th and 111th streets; Park Lane South between 107th Street and Myrtle Avenue; Kew Gardens Road between Union Turnpike and 80th Avenue; and 111th Street between 101st and Jamaica avenues.

But some of the projects will be done on local mostly-residential streets including 108th, 109th and 110th streets in Richmond Hill between Atlantic and Jamaica avenues; 91st Avenue between 107th and 111th streets; 76th Road between Queens Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway in Forest Hills; and Edgerton Boulevard between the Grand Central Parkway and Croydon Road in Jamaica Estates. The project will also replace water mains on 91st and 89th avenues between 134th Street and the Van Wyck Expressway around Jamaica Hospital.

The DEP will also undertake water main replacements on a number of streets in Far Rockaway as well.

A full list of streets that will be worked on can be found in the DEP’s website at nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/12-104pr.shtml.

The work will force closures of lanes and, in some cases, entire streets. Residential blocks are likely to be toughest because of the narrow right-of-way. The city Department of Transportation will issue construction permits, review maintenance and protection of traffic plans from the contractor who will be doing the work and will analyze traffic and safety conditions in the area when roadway closures, detours or one-way conversions are required. A number of street parking spaces will also have to be closed during the project.

The news of the replacements comes as the DEP announced the city suffered the fewest water main breaks in 2012 in over a decade. There were 347 breaks in 2012, down from a high of 632 in 2003. The department credited new equipment it uses to regulate water pressure and identify potential pipeline problems before a break occurs.

“By using cutting-edge technology and increased preventative maintenance, 2012 saw the lowest number of water main breaks during the last decade and we will continue to focus on driving this number down even further in the coming years,” Strickland said in a statement.

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