July 7, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
Governor Kathy Hochul announced last week that the state has completed a $17 million upgrade to a bridge on Astoria Boulevard that spans the eastbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway ramp—and takes traffic to the eastbound Grand Central Parkway.
The revamp, which took 18 months to complete, has seen the bridge’s existing steel beams replaced and a new roadway surface put down, which the state DOT says will provide motorists with a smoother drive.
The bridge, a well-traveled roadway that serves as an important access route to LaGuardia Airport, has also seen its lighting upgraded.
“Revitalizing our transportation infrastructure across New York to better serve our communities is one of my top priorities, which is why we invested in rehabilitating this bridge carrying Astoria Boulevard — a vital connection along a corridor that not only provides access to LaGuardia Airport but is also home to many stores and businesses in Queens,” Hochul said in a statement.
The state DOT has replaced the bridge’s existing steel beams with new, rust-resistant beams to reduce the need for painting. The project features stainless-steel reenforced bars to prevent corrosion inside the roadway deck and has fewer joints in order to reduce water leakage and minimize damage to structural elements.
Additional improvements include a new drainage system, LED lighting above and below the bridge, bridge safety barriers, fencing, and upgraded utilities including new water, electric, and gas lines. The project also features a new sidewalk on the south side of the bridge that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This much-needed project in Queens will improve travel on one of the borough’s most important roadways and represents our continued commitment to modernizing our infrastructure,” said New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.
State Sen. Jessica Ramos said the bridge provides a critical link between two main transit arteries in Queens, one that has proven dangerous.
“As the upgrades to LaGuardia Airport continue, I’m deeply appreciative for the investments in making sure the surrounding areas get the care they need to handle the expected increased traffic for the long-term,” she said.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said the revamp is an important step toward improving access to LaGuardia Airport and to easing the traffic flow in the entire nearby area.
“Motorists who use this section of Astoria Boulevard will soon find getting to LaGuardia and other locations in Queens to be much easier and safer,” Richards said.