What’s the holdup? Massive Belt Parkway repair project begins

The city’s Department of Transportation said it’s done fixing several bridges along the Belt Parkway. The Guider Avenue Bridge (above) was the first one finished this winter.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A rutted stretch of the Belt Parkway is about to get a $6.5-million makeover — a renovation that promises even more delays for Southern Brooklyn commuters as lanes are ripped up and repaired, officials say.

The Department of Design and Construction began its rehab of the flood and pothole-prone freeway between Coney Island Avenue and Knapp Street on Tuesday, ending a sixth-month shelving of the long-anticipated project.

The agency will resurface the roadway, build new guardrails, and add more catch basins to improve drainage in areas that flood during heavy rainstorms, officials said.

“This work will rehabilitate the highway,” said agency spokesman Craig Chin, who said that more than 150,000 cars use the Belt Parkway each day.

Chin said the agency will 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. The project is scheduled to be completed in December, he said.

Work on the parkway’s Manhattan and Queens-bound lanes was slated to start last fall, but the rehab was postponed while the agency sought the Parks Department’s permission to remove trees that line the highway so they can install more sewer drains.

Motorists say they are bracing for the anticipated delays, but those who routinely drive over the rutted stretch said they can’t wait for the Belt Parkway to be repaired.

“It has to be done,” said Community Board 15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo. “Water builds up on the highway because the sewers are no good.”

The Belt Parkway has become one long construction zone over the past few years. The catch basin project is just a small part of the city’s continuing $500-million reconstruction of seven aging Belt Parkway bridges. The first phase of the project — to replace the Paerdegat Basin and Rockaway Basin bridges — was finished in January.

The rest of the project is should be completed in 2017, officials said.

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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