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A long, hot gridlock summer on tap for Ridge motorists

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A perfect storm of traffic congestion is beginning to form off the coast of Bay Ridge, and is expected to hit with full strength just in time for the summer driving season.

First, a two-year renovation of 86th Street will begin in the next few weeks as sidewalks from Shore Road to Gatling Place will be torn-up by the Department of Design and Construction for work on an underground water main.

Then, in June, one lane in each direction on the Verrazano Bridge will be closing to allow for a rehab of the lower level exit ramp.

That work is also expected to last about two years.

It’s going to be rough, but, as they say in Bay Ridge, what are you gonna do about it?

“The construction is going to be an absolute nightmare,” said Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10. “But Bay Ridge has a very old infrastructure and these improvements need to be made, no matter how inconvenient.”

Beckmann said her board, as well as local pols, are trying to get the city to, at least, do the work on 86th Street in two phases.

Local business owners, especially those who depend on the use of outdoor sidewalk cafes, are especially enraged.

“I know the work has to be done, but two years is going to kill us,” said Leo Lykourezos who owns Casa Calamari on 86th Street and Third Avenue. “They should be working 24 hours a day to get this done.”

Lykourezos also hopes the city will do the work in two phases.

“It would be a good idea to break this project up to give us a little break,” Lykourezos said. “[The city] says it’ll take 21 months, but we are talking about the government — so who knows? It could take four years.”

Fresh on Ridge’s memory, is the city’s project to replace water and sewer lines at the corner of 92nd Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway — a “one-year” project that turned into an 18-month nightmare, according to Beckmann.

“We had people complaining of the vibrations, cracks that went through houses, and four businesses had to close down,” Beckmann said. “It was a total disaster. And minor work continues [on that project] to this day.”

Meanwhile, in other Bay Ridge traffic and transit news:

• CB10 voted unanimously to bar the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from adding bus routes to 86th Street and Fourth Avenue, part of an effort by the transit agency to have the Staten Island portion of its “bus rapid transit” program terminate in Bay Ridge.

“We just don’t need another bus,” said CB10 Chairman Dean Rasinya, who believes there is already enough traffic at the crowded intersection.

• The Department of Transportation told CB10 that it wants to relocate the Sixth Avenue entrance ramp of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and widen the exit ramp by 2009.

“This is something we need to get done,” said Beckmann. “We have been told that this stretch is one of our most accident-prone locations.”

After the project is completed, it should relieve the congestion caused by cars backing up on the ramp and onto the highway.

Beckmann saw the news as good — down the road, that is.

“We are going to have to sacrifice a little now, but we will see dividends,” she said.

• A handful of roads in the neighborhood will be resurfaced beginning in May, with a full list of the specific streets available shortly.

“It means that for a short while you may have to move your car,” Beckmann said. “But that usually isn’t too big a deal.”

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