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.