Bay Ridge’s most recent traffic nightmare is finally over.
The congestion and long delays due to the three-week closure of the Exit 19 entrance and exit ramps to the Gowanus Expressway will end on Wednesday, Aug. 29. The ramps will reopen, weather permitting, so that traffic patterns can finally return to normal.
The Exit 19 ramp from the Staten Island-bound Gowanus Expressway to 86th Street and the entrance ramp from 86th Street to the Manhattan-bound Gowanus Expressway have been closed since Thursday, Aug. 9 to allow the New York State Department of Transportation to install 128 precast concrete deck panels on the bridge over the Gowanus at 86th Street as part of a $49 million deck replacement that had been snarling traffic in the area.
During the construction closures, motorists exiting the Staten Island-bound Gowanus had to detour to Exit 17, 92nd Street, and head back to 86th Street. Motorists who normally would enter the Manhattan-bound Gowanus at 86th Street were forced to utilize the 92nd Street access point.
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, was delighted with the progress that was made.
“It is certainly great news that both entrance and exit ramps will be reopened this Wednesday ahead of schedule,” Beckmann told this paper. “The contractor El Sol and their team appear to be bringing this project closer to completion working hard to minimize traffic impacts and we look forward to a newly constructed overpass.”
While there were traffic agents to help guide traffic, motorists experienced extensive delays in the immediate area over the last three weeks. Residents living closest to the project were impacted by construction noise with work on the project taking place around the clock.
City Councilmember Justin Brannan pointed out the necessity of undertaking such repairs. “As they say, no pain, no gain. Critical improvements to our infrastructure are very important but they take time and require residents to be very patient,” Brannan told this paper. “I know it’s not easy but I’m glad this got done. The new overpass looks great and I commend the New York State Department of Transportation for getting this done on time as promised.”
State Sen. Marty Golden was also pleased that the work was done in such a timely manner. “The 86th Street Bridge Repair Project presented many challenges for New York State Department of Transportation engineers to ensure that the impact to motorists, pedestrians, businesses and residents were reasonable,” Golden said. “Special thanks to New York State Department of Transportation personnel for their efforts to complete this important project safely and quickly.”