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LIE-Cross Island Pkwy work clogs NE Queens

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Amid a bevy of traffic signs, crossing guards and construction equipment there’s a sign at the intersection of Marathon Parkway and the Long Island Expressway drivers seem to be missing: the one banning left turns onto the expressway service road.

The restriction on left turns from Marathon Parkway will probably be in place for the duration of the estimated 18-month reconstruction of the overpass as the state Department of Transportation moves forward with its work to reshape the interchange of the LIE and Cross Island Parkway, a spokeswoman said this week.

Bridge reconstruction along the LIE throughout Little Neck and Douglaston is part of the $112 million LIE-Cross Island Parkway project, which was conceived as an alternative plan by the state when northeast Queens residents and politicians protested the idea of widening the LIE for High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in 1996. State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) was a major architect of the project.

The no-left-turn rule has been in place for months during the Marathon Parkway overpass work and Capurro said she has received a number of complaints about drivers failing to observe the sign.

The left-turn ban was instituted after construction began, Capurro said, because the roadwork limits the overpass to one northbound land and one southbound lane, eliminating space for cars to make the turn without backing up traffic.

“Marathon is going quickly now — it’ll be a little busier in the next couple of weeks,” she said. After the state finishes rebuilding the western half of the bridge, Capurro said, the process must be repeated on the eastern side.

As the Marathon Parkway overpass work approaches its halfway point, Capurro said two new components of the LIE-Cross Island Parkway project should be getting started in the next month.

Prep work for the replacement of water mains along the LIE service road between Marathon and Douglaston Parkway has resulted in the closure of one lane of the service road in the area, Capurro said, and construction could begin in the next month.

Capurro said the work — which will be on the north side of the expressway — would feature a total upgrade of the water mains in the area. She said water for local residents would not be affected during the work, which was expected to last eight to nine months.

“That will be a long-term closure but not a permanent one,” she said.

In addition to the reconstruction of the Marathon, Douglaston and Little Neck parkway overpasses, the widening of the West Alley Road overpass was set to begin in the next several weeks, Capurro said.

The buildup of West Alley Road to handle traffic that would have used the eastbound Douglaston Parkway exit is just one part of the massive LIE-Cross Island Parkway project, which was also expected to include: the addition of 12 acres of park land to Alley Pond Park; new pedestrian walkways and lighting in the new parkland, the rehabilitation of the old Alley Pond, and the permanent closure of the eastbound Douglaston Parkway exit.

Construction on the widening of West Alley Road should begin soon, Capurro said.

“It’s the only bridge we haven’t started,” she said. “We’re making West Alley Road wider, and a new LIE ramp will go under it.”

Capurro said that new ramp would give drivers more direct access from the eastbound LIE to the southbound Cross Island Parkway.

For more information about the interchange project call either Community Board 11 at 718-225-1054 or the field office at 718-279-4533.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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