From the MTA:
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Bridges and Tunnels is scheduled to open a new ramp connecting the Belt Parkway to the Staten Island-bound lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge next week. The ramp is part of the $84.3 million project to construct a new lane for buses and high-occupancy vehicles (HOV) that will eventually connect to the Bus/HOV lane on the Gowanus Expressway. The new ramp will require motorists to enter from the right lane of the approach ramp rather than the left lane.
Work on the Brooklyn ramp and the new, reversible seventh-lane Bus/HOV lane across the upper level of the Verrazano-Narrows will be the final piece in establishing a continuous Bus/HOV lane from the Staten Island Expressway to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in Brooklyn.
“These two projects will greatly improve traffic flow and regional mobility for this busy corridor,” said Verrazano-Narrows Facility Engineer David Riggs. Both the new Bus/HOV ramp on the Brooklyn side of the bridge and the new seventh lane are expected to be completed by 2017.
The new Staten Island-bound Belt Parkway connector ramp to the bridge’s lower level is tentatively scheduled to open after the morning rush on Wed., July 22, and will require motorists who want to use the local Bay Street and Lily Pond Avenue exits to use the right lane to access the lower level of the bridge.
Currently, motorists coming from the Belt Parkway access the bridge’s lower level by using the left lane. Under this permanent change, they will now access the lower level of the bridge heading into Staten Island using the right lane and drivers using the upper level of the bridge will stay in the left lane.
“This permanent reconstruction of the Belt Parkway ramp leading onto the bridge will give motorists improved access to the lower level and facilitate the construction of the new Bus/HOV ramp,” said Verrazano-Narrows Project Engineer Agnes Zulinska. Both westbound Belt Parkway connector ramps are being reconstructed under this project and when the project is finished there will be wider lanes and new safety shoulders on both ramps.
Electronic and fixed signs will be in place advising drivers about the new traffic pattern. “As with all new traffic patterns, it may take motorists several weeks to get used to the change. During this time we ask them to be alert and heed the signs,” said Director of Bridges South, William McCann, who oversees day-to-day operations at the Verrazano-Narrows and MTA’s two Rockaway bridges.
The construction contract for the new Bus/HOV ramp and connector ramps was awarded to El Sol construction, of Queens. Building the new ramp involves constructing 25 new pier columns, ranging in size from 20 to 100 feet tall.
To see an MTA YouTube video on the project and photos go to: http://web.mta.info/bandt/html/btconstruction.html.