As if normal congestion and traffic delays along the dreaded Gowanus Expressway aren’t enough, entrance and exit ramps to and from the highway at 86th Street will be closed beginning this Thursday morning at approximately 12:01 a.m.
The Exit 19 ramp from the Staten Island-bound Gowanus Expressway (I-278) to 86th Street and the entrance ramp from 86th Street to the Manhattan-bound Gowanus Expressway will be closed for approximately three weeks to allow the New York State Department of Transportation to install new deck slabs on the bridge over the Gowanus at 86th Street as part of a $49 million deck replacement project that has already snarled traffic in the area.
“This stage of the work will undoubtedly be a pain in the neck, but once we get through this part, we’re almost home,” City Councilmember Justin Brannan told this paper. “Projects like this are tough – nobody wants to deal with it, but the work’s gotta get done.”
Brannan promised that his office will monitor the situation on a daily basis. “We will ensure that the State Department of Transportation is doing everything they can to mitigate and minimize inconvenience to pedestrians and drivers and most importantly keep everyone safe throughout,” Brannan added.
District Manager of Community Board 10 Josephine Beckmann also voiced her concerns about the construction disruption. “The impending Gowanus ramp closures will likely bring traffic back-ups and delays for the next three weeks as construction enters the most intricate phase of this rehabilitation project,” Beckmann told this paper.
“While there will be traffic agents to help guide traffic, motorists can expect extensive delays in the immediate area. Residents living closest to the project will also be impacted by construction noise as during this phase of the project, work will be taking place 24 hours per day.”
Beckmann strongly recommended that motorists as well as Express and B1 bus riders allot additional commuting time for the next three weeks.
According to a statement from the New York State Department of Transportation, motorists exiting the Staten Island-bound Gowanus should detour to Exit 17, 92nd Street, and head back to 86th Street. Motorist who normally enter the Manhattan-bound Gowanus at 86th Street should also utilize the 92nd Street access point.
A few years ago, major traffic jams occurred when the entrance to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from the Belt Parkway was closed in order to install new girders in reconstructing the ramp. And that was just for one night!
“The 86th Street Bridge Repair Project presents many challenges for NY DOT to ensure that the impact to motorists, pedestrians, businesses and residents are reasonable,” state Sen. Marty Golden told this paper.
“The negative impact to traffic flow, reduction in parking and obstruction of pedestrian travel will be difficult to manage. NY DOT engineers owe it to every resident to minimize disruptions to our community. These are not small inconveniences. Every effort must be made do this project safely and quickly.”
Golden promised that his office will work closely with NY DOT, Community Board 10 and members of the community to assist in addressing all issues that arise from the impending closures.