The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the start of construction to improve traffic flow from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to the eastbound Gowanus Expressway. This will reduce congestion for drivers heading into Brooklyn and Manhattan during morning and afternoon peak periods.
The Gowanus Expressway, part of I-278, runs six miles between the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Interchange. An average of more than 60,000 vehicle per day currently travel eastbound from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to the Gowanus Expressway.
“This project is a win-win for New Yorkers — saving drivers time and cutting environmental impacts from tailpipe emissions,” said Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development.
The project will widen the segment of the roadway from 92nd Street to the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit, reducing traffic-weaving and eliminating a current bottleneck that results in traffic back-ups. Motorists will collectively save an estimated 1,000 hours daily and more than 360,000 travel time hours annually. The time savings amounts to the elimination of more than 1,500 tons of carbon emissions per year.
Currently two lanes from the upper level and two lanes from the lower level of the bridge converge near 92nd Street onto the Gowanus Expressway. Then, east of 92nd Street, the four-lane roadway drops to three lanes. Eliminating the existing lane drop will improve the traffic flow and potentially reduce collisions in this segment by 20 percent.
The new construction will expand the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit ramp to two lanes and add a fourth eastbound lane from the Verrazzano to the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit. The project will also improve signage on the westbound roadway heading to the Staten Island-bound Verrazzano. Variable electronic message signs (VMS) and advance lane-use signals will be installed as a result to enhance the motorist experience.
The $18M contract, awarded to DeFoe Corporation, is scheduled to begin Spring 2020 and is expected to be completed in Spring 2021. MTA Bridges and Tunnels has partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Transportation to expedite delivery of this project in a cost-effective manner.
The project will maintain existing eastbound and westbound lane capacity during the AM and PM peak periods and will be staged to maintain capacity in the peak travel direction. The contractor will work in coordination with any other construction projects that may be taking place in adjacent corridors, minimizing disruptions to traffic.