After five long years it appears that the North Shore Marine Transfer Station in College Point is finished, but when will it open?
There have been problems along the way. Some people opposed it because of its location near LaGuardia Airport. They feared birds would be attracted to the site and ultimately cause accidents with planes.
Eventually, the building’s three-story height was lowered by 12 feet and federal and Sanitation officials said the facility and its smells will be so confined that there will not be an issue with birds.
The garbage will be processed in an enclosed building that maintains air pressure to prevent escape of odors.
The $121 million North Shore MTS had also been opposed at one time by former Congressman Gary Ackerman, because of its proximity to LaGuardia. He believed it might be a hazard to airport traffic, since it is only 2,000 feet from one of the runways.
But the FAA assured him that safety requirements were being met.
Then there was trouble pile driving, which took longer than expected. The station is located at 120-15 31 Ave., the site of the original smaller transfer station, built in 1954, which was torn down.
But similar projects in other boroughs have taken an average of two to three years to complete. Sanitation officials expected the College Point project to take three years and be completed by 2013.
Gene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7, said members had wanted to take a walk-through, but that he had received no updates from Department of Sanitation officials.
CB 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman said she had heard the facility would open in December or early next year, but had no definite information.
In 2001, the Giuliani administration closed the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island and all the city’s waste transfer stations. Since then, garbage has gone to privately run transfer stations and recycling plants.
In 2004, then-Mayor Bloomberg announced a solid waste management plan that would end the use of long-haul trucks to transport trash, reduce pollution, stabilize costs and locate garbage transfer stations fairly throughout the five boroughs.
In College Point, plans call for 3,500 tons of residential garbage from Districts 7 through 14 to be trucked in, where it will be packaged, containerized and put on a barge. Most of the garbage will be from residential neighborhoods with about 1,000 tons coming from commercial locations.
The barges are not expected to travel long distances. The containers will be shipped to another location in the city, where either trains or barges will move them to a landfill out of state.
A spokeswoman for the DSNY said Wednesday that construction delays had occurred at the College Point location and that the facility would be fully operational by mid-2015.
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