Over the past month drivers traveling westbound on the Grand Central Parkway may have experienced a rough ride.
According to state Department of Transportation spokesman Charles O’Shea, the reason is due to the highway repaving between the Clearview Expressway and 164th Street. About 40 workers from Intercounty Paving Associates are milling the road, repairing the concrete base, paving, raising catch basins and striping the surface. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
In order to implement these changes and minimize the effect of the construction on drivers, work hours are between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. However, this is not to say that drivers will have it easy at other times.
“The road will be a little rough for a couple of weeks and cars may go at slower speeds in the area, but this will improve the riding surface and give riders a better ride than what was there before,” O’Shea said.
The total cost of is approximately $2.5 million, with a contract total amounting to $12.5 million. The rest of the $10 million covers resurfacing sections of the Van Wyck Expressway and the Long Island Expressway, in addition to some miscellaneous work at other locations.
“The city will reap the benefits of a rehabilitated roadway with a smooth-riding surface, which will translate to better commutes for the traveling public,” O’Shea said. According to the website NYC Roads, the Grand Central Parkway is a popular route, handling 180,000 vehicles per day through western Queens and 150,000 through eastern Queens.
News of the repaving was surprising to American Automobile Association spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. This past May, the automobile advocacy and service organization released a study ranking the quality of lane markings of seven highways, including the Grand Central.
“I don’t remember the condition of the road in the area to be particulary bad,” Sinclair said. “Our lane marking survey found the area in need of freshly painted lines, but overall pavement condition wasn’t a problem.”
The AAA study found only 8 percent of the highway poorly marked, but did indicate lane lines in certain spots were either completely gone or faded, such as eastbound near the Jackie Robinson Parkway and westbound between the Clearview Expressway and 168th Street.
At the same time the Grand Central is being renovated, the LIE is also being repaved between the same westbound area, as well as eastbound from College Point to Kissena boulevards. O’Shea said the LIE project should be completed by the end of November, temperature and weather permitting. The decision to halt work because of these conditions is decided between the contractor and the DOT.
Despite repaving being done during off peak times, Sinclair stresses the importance of making sure the public is well aware of any impending work and when it will take place.
O’Shea said DOT uses various methods to ensure drivers are well-advised of construction from notifying community boards to installing portable and permanent VMS message boards near the site that flash messages about the work. He said despite any inconveniences that may emerge, it is well worth it.
“A repaved road is always a safer road for drivers and their vehicles,” he said.