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Public Hearings on $1.2 Billion Van Wyck Expressway Project to Take Place Next Week

Additional Lanes Proposed (HOV lanes) for the Van Wyck Expressway (DOT)

Feb. 19, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Two public hearings are scheduled to take place next week where state and federal officials will discuss their plans to add lanes and other improvements to the Van Wyck Expressway as a means to increase the flow of traffic between the Kew Gardens Interchange and JFK Airport.

The proposed plan, estimated to cost $1.2 billion, would add a fourth lane to the Van Wyck Expressway in both directions between the Kew Gardens Interchange and JFK airport. The additional lanes would be for high-occupancy vehicles.

The plan aims to ease traffic for the nearly 58.9 million passengers who use the airport annually, a number that is expected to grow to more than 75 million passengers by 2030.

The bridges along this 4.3 mile stretch of the Van Wyck Expressway would also be replaced or modified, including the Atlantic Avenue and 133rd Avenue bridges. The plan also calls for the reconfiguration of entrance and exit ramps. 

The New York State Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration released their draft environmental impact statement Feb. 1 and are now seeking feedback on their plans. 

The first hearing is planned for Feb. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center, located at 172-17 Linden Boulevard in Jamaica, and the second hearing is planned for Feb. 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave.

The hearings will include a formal presentation on the project and an opportunity for public comment. There will be Spanish translators present.

All public comments, verbal or written, must be submitted to the DOT by March 18 (45 days after the draft environmental impact statement was released to the public.)

Once the public hearings are complete, comments will be taken into consideration, a final draft will be written up, and the Federal Highway Administration will decide whether or not to approve the project.

If approved, DOT says the project is expected begin the first phase of construction by the end of this year. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

General Study Area for Environmental Impact Study for VWE Project (DOT)

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As much as I want to see the Abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch reactivated as either a LIRR branch to Ozone Park or as a NYC Subway line, connecting the E/F lines to the A, I feel that the one seat ride idea wouldn’t work.

The Port Authority has made sure that the Airtrain can not be used to move traffic from the Manhattan core to the 2 Queens airports. Federal law prohibits trains funded by airport/airfare taxes to have a dual use as mass transit. Thus, the PA designed its Airtrain routes NOT ABLE to be used for convenient mass transit AND at a cost higher than mass transit to use. To make things worse, Cuomo’s LGA Airtrain starts from the wrong LIRR station, and doesn’t make any sense for Long Islanders NOT on the Port Washington branch to use.

What is really needed is an Airtrain connecting NYP, GCT, LGA and JFK. We’ll never see that.


This is BS and this will Great more traffic jams . Why don’t you Re Build the Abandoned LIRR line from Rego Park to the A Train Rockaway line to the Airport ?
That would make more sense !


REACTIVATE the QueensRail (Rockaway Beach Branch) instead & create a one seat ride between Penn Station/Grand Central & JFK!!!

Eric Cooper

JFK International airport is a financial mecca for the NYC area so we need better ways to transport people and goods to and from the airport. That said, there are (3) major items needed to really make any headway with the traffic conditions. (1)- add HOV lanes as shown above, (2)- Add / continue said HOV lanes through to LGA airport (many international travelers fly into JFK, then fly nationally from LGA), need more ways to ferry people between the airports (including the extension of the tram from Jamaica LIRR to LGA. (3) Lastly, and most importantly, we MUST add a tunnel for cars (toll roadway) from JFK to lower Manhattan.

Citizen DOT

Widening highways does not work!
This logic is completely flawed & does not improve anything.

Put up some keep right pass left signs and enforce it.

Its literally just straight no one should be in the left lane. Unless they exit towards the end, before the split airport exit. However, drivers don’t need to be driving on the left lane the whole way.

Same thing westbound. No one needs to be in the left lane unless they need to pass.

All you need is proper signage.
Airport (Keep Right) East LI (Middle Lane) Left Lane/Passing Lane/Express

Regarding the entrance ramp red light signals would help with the merging situation.

Waste of time & money if this goes through.

John Sla

Use the waterways ferry service from Manhattan Bronx Brooklyn Queens is the answer to move people to JFK


Maybe people should look into Westchester AP. our friends came from Texas, and it was so much easier to navigate then going to kennedy and a lot cheaper parking


Sure it’s good that this would be for high occupancy vehicles but creating additional lanes on highways just ends up leading to more people driving with just as much traffic.

We need more lanes for BRT. This is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing mass transit using existing roadways.


Don’t know why you were downvoted. What you say is true. Add another lane and it will jam up too. Best use of that lane would be for high frequency limited stop buses/BRT.

Phil Abrams

You have got to be kidding me. The worst road in the US which has been under construction for as long as I can remember is going to be under construction for another ten years. SCAM

Driver daily

So they are now looking to cause 10 years of traffic so its easier to get to JFK and on top of that RIP out the new bridges and ramps to make new ones….only one benefits is the contractor doing the work not anyone else.


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