Dec. 26, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
Five ramps at the Kew Gardens Interchange are likely to be closed during off-peak hours over the next two months as the state DOT continues to overhaul the complex junction.
Ramp closures will begin tonight, Dec. 26, as the DOT begins to remove the southbound Van Wyck Expressway viaduct.
The closures are part of Phase III of the massive four-phase, $700 million project that began in August 2010. The latest phase, at a cost of $110 million, involves replacing the deteriorated two-lane viaduct with a continuous three-lane viaduct.
The replacement viaduct will also come with new exits to the westbound Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
The five ramps are subject to closure Monday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and on weekends from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. The closures are dependent on what work is taking place at the time, and motorists should follow the signed detours. The work should be complete by the end of February, weather permitting, according to the DOT.
The five ramps subject to closure are:
Ramp from westbound Grand Central Parkway (Exit 13W) to westbound Jackie Robinson Parkway.
Ramp from eastbound Jackie Robinson Parkway (Exit 8W) to westbound Grand Central Parkway.
Ramp from southbound Van Wyck Expressway (Exit 7) to westbound Jackie Robinson Parkway.
Ramp from eastbound Jackie Robinson Parkway (Exit 7) to northbound Van Wyck Expressway.
Entrance Ramp from westbound Union Turnpike to westbound Grand Central Parkway.
The Interchange—where the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway, and Union Turnpike come together—services about 600,000 vehicles a day.
“The Kew Gardens Interchange is one of the most tangled knots of congestion in all of New York City, impacting the economy of the city and affecting the quality of life of all Queens residents,” said Acting state DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee when Phase 1 began.
The first two phases have been completed. Phase 1 led to the widening of a portion of the Van Wyck Expressway, and rehabilitating the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck to westbound Queens Boulevard.
Phase II, among other upgrades, has led to the construction of a new, wider northbound Van Wyck Expressway viaduct, which will carry three travel lanes once Phase III is complete.
“The third phase of this major project will expand upon the improvements already accomplished with the first two legs, and will help ensure this roadway can meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo when the third phase of the project was announced in September 2017.
Phase IV is still in the preliminary stage of planning.