Today’s news:

Closures planned for Cross Island at LIE

Some think the weekends are a good time for long, leisurely drives, but if you live near the interchange of the Cross Island Parkway and the Long Island Expressway, you may want to hold off on any weekend pleasure trips.

As the $112 million project to reshape the interchange progresses, a spokeswoman for the construction said workers would be shutting down all of the northbound Cross Island Parkway under the LIE on each of the next three weekends in March.

The closures were scheduled as the LIE-Cross Island Parkway work reached a sort of unofficial halfway point last week, spokeswoman Cristina Capurro said.

The most visible indication of that headway can be seen in the reconstruction of the area’s LIE overpasses, including those at Little Neck, Douglaston and Marathon parkways.

Work was slightly delayed at about 10:15 a.m. Feb. 27 when a gas pipe in the Marathon Parkway overpass was broken during construction, Capurro said. About four homes near the intersection were evacuated for an hour and the north LIE service road was shut down while the gas leak was repaired. Residents were allowed to return at about 11:30 a.m.

“It was a little hectic,” she said. “The contractor was demolishing that side of the bridge and he clipped the gas main.”

Capurro said the broken gas main, one of the first such incidents reported in connection with the project that began last year, was not a major problem because the pipe was in the process of being removed.

Although the project was initially delayed by the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center — during which most major highway construction work was halted to allow for the free passage of emergency vehicles — Capurro said extra work in December and good weather helped keep it on schedule.

Workers were readying themselves this week for the upcoming closures, which were slated to take place from 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday on March 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25.

The closures were required, Capurro said, because large pile- driving machinery needs to be used for the reconstruction of the LIE bridge over the Cross Island Parkway.

— Reporter Courtney Dentch contributed to this story.

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

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