Whitestone Expy. Exit Closing For 2 Years
By Joe Marvilli
Drivers who use the Whitestone Expressway should prepare to make an adjustment to their driving pattern in the New Year.
The Whitestone Expressway’s 3rd Avenue exit will be closed to all traffic starting on Jan. 7 for approximately two years. The closure is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels’ Capital Improvement Project.
The 42-month, $109 million reconstruction will transform the 1,010-foot-long Queens approach to the bridge, rebuilding the roadway and adding new emergency breakdown shoulders. The southbound 14th Avenue exit ramp will be repaved as well as gaining a deceleration lane and new curbing.
Passenger vehicles driving from the Bronx-bound Cross Island Parkway will have to exit at Utopia Parkway (Exit 33N), and those driving from the northbound Whitestone Expressway will get off either at the 20th Avenue exit and or merge onto the Cross Island Parkway. All commercial vehicles must exit the Whitestone Expressway at 20th Avenue (Exit 15).
Signs and traffic agents will be on hand once the detours begin in January. Although these extra precautions will be in place, drivers will not be forced to pay a toll for accidentally going over the bridge. According to the MTA B&T, drivers who miss the exits and go over the bridge can proceed to the cash lane, where the toll collector will give them an off-route pass back to Queens. E-Z Pass patrons can stop in the toll lane and an officer will assist them.
Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) praised the City agency for working closely with him and his office to make sure the construction minimally impacts the surrounding community.
“The sound barrier, decorative screening and other thoughtful inclusions will help maintain our community’s quality of life while this necessary work on the bridge is being done,” Halloran said. “I wish everyone was as easy to work with as Bridges and Tunnels.”
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.