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Queens Chronicle

Gaining ground on Southeast flooding

$24M sewer project to spell relief for Hollis, Queens Village residents

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 11:45 am, Thu Aug 29, 2019.

The city’s attack on chronic flooding in Southeast Queens has reached into two more neighborhoods with the start of a two-year, $24 million contract for projects in Hollis and Queens Village.

The projects are a continuation of a $1.9 billion program promised by Mayor de Blasio shortly after he took office in 2014.

The Hollis project incudes 204th Street, 205th Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard and 207th Street between Hollis and 112th avenues, 208th Street between 112th and Bardwell avenues; 110th Avenue and 111th Road between Francis Lewis and 205th Street; 111th Avenue between 204th and Colfax streets; and 112th Avenue between 204th and 207th streets.

Also included in Queens Village is the stretch of 221st Place between its intersections with 91st Road and 92nd Ave.

“We are building a comprehensive drainage system across southeast Queens that will improve the quality of life for residents and businesses and raise the value of properties,” said Commissioner Vincent Sapienza of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, in a statement issued with the Department of Design and Construction.

“We thank the residents for their patience during construction, our partners at DDC for their professional work and the elected officials for helping us deliver for their constituents,” he added.

“With this project thousands of residents and business owners in Hollis and Queens Village will have their flooding issues addressed and their streets rebuilt,” said Commissioner Lorraine Grillo of the DDC.

Southeast Queens, much of which sits above a high water table to begin with, suffered from decades of neglect from the city when it came to stormwater and sewer infrastructure. Much of the infrastructure had not been modernized in decades. Numerous housing tracts over the years had been built by careless or neglectful builders who cut corners on or ignored infrastructure requirements.

The situation only got worse after the city purchased the old Jamaica Water Supply Co. and in 1997 stopped pumping out millions of gallons per day, with groundwater levels eventually rising more than 30 feet.

According to the DEP and DDC, work will occur on 20 individual blocks. More than a mile of water mains, some of which were installed before World War II, will be replaced and an additional 600 feet of new water mains added. Fire protection will be enhanced with the replacement of 18 existing hydrants while four additional ones will be installed at new locations

There will be 2,030 feet of new storm sewers added to the neighborhoods, while 1,755 feet of existing storm sewers will be replaced, ranging in size from 12 inches in diameter to oval sewers that are 45 inches in width and 29 inches in height.

Thirty-five stormwater catch basins will be replaced and another 16 installed. More than one mile (6,863 feet) of existing sanitary sewer will be replaced and 400 feet of new sanitary sewer line will be installed.

Upon completion — scheduled for summer 2021 — 13,790 feet of curbs will be replaced, 30,814 square feet of sidewalks will be reconstructed and 36,113 square yards of new asphalt will be laid down over a new concrete base.

State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) has been fighting the flooding fight dating back before his days as a city councilman.

“Residents of Hollis and Queens Village are all too familiar with the chronic flooding of streets and home basements throughout Southeast Queens,” he said in the official statement.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) said the project is a major health and safety advance, with Katz also citing the potential impact on property values for homeowners.

Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and city officials acknowledged that the construction period will bring with it some temporary inconvenience for residents, but he believes continued engagement with residents during the process will mitigate that somewhat with an emphasis on the future benefits.

“The installation of new drainage infrastructure will provide much needed relief in areas where the quality-of-life, health, and safety of local residents has been adversely impacted,” the councilman said.

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