Hit the brakes! Stalled Belt Parkway rehab starts next month

The city will install new guardrails and catch basins along the Belt Parkway between Coney Island Avenue and Knapp Street. The stretch of highway will also be repaved.

Get ready to hit the brakes.

The city is moving ahead with its multi-million-dollar makeover of a flood and pothole-prone stretch of the Belt Parkway — half a year after the project was originally supposed to start — guaranteeing that one’s nightly commute around Southern Brooklyn is going to get a lot worse.

The city will spend $6.5 million to restore the highway between Coney Island Avenue and Knapp Street, which officials say is peppered with potholes and backed-up catch basins that overflow during heavy rainstorms.

The city is resurfacing the roadway and adding more basins to improve drainage. New guardrails will also be installed, city officials say.

Work on the Manhattan and Queens-bound lanes of the parkway is set to begin on April 1, and is scheduled to be completed in December, said Department of Design and Construction spokesman Craig Chin.

The project was slated to start last fall. Back then, Chin said that the city would close one lane of traffic for 11 hours each day during weekdays, and block access to two lanes of traffic for six hours on weekends to facilitate the work.

But Chin said the rehab was delayed for months after it was announced in September while the agency sought permission from the Parks Department to remove trees along the highway to make room for the new sewer drains.

Now the construction will take place after the evening rush hour, said Chin, who didn’t provide more details.

“All the work will be performed at night to try and have less impact on drivers,” he said.

Motorists said that despite the nuisance they can’t wait to see the highway get fixed.

“It still has to be done, there’s no way around it,” said motorist Cliff Bruckenstein. “The roadway is in terrible condition.”

The work is part of the city’s ongoing $500-million effort to rebuild seven outdated bridges along the Belt Parkway in Sheepshead Bay that transport more than 150,000 cars a day through Brooklyn and Queens by 2017.

The overhaul includes the replacement of the 72-year-old Mill Basin Draw Bridge — which rises just 35 feet over the water, and is the only moveable bridge along the parkway — with a 60-foot-high fixed overpass to accommodate tall ships.

The first phase of the project, to replace the aging Paerdegat Basin and Rockaway Parkway bridges, was completed in January.

In December, the city also reopened the Guider Avenue Bridge that connects Coney Island Avenue at Guider Avenue to the Manhattan-bound entrance to the parkway.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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