Today’s news:

LIE, Cross Island ramps slated to open, state says

After a delay caused by the blackout, two new ramps in the interchange between the Long Island Expressway and Cross Island Parkway were scheduled to open by 6 p.m. Saturday, the state Department of Transportation said this week.

The much-anticipated opening will replace loop ramps with direct ramps from the westbound LIE to the southbound CIP, and from the southbound CIP to the eastbound LIE.

The new ramps are part of a larger project to reshape the interchange with direct entrance and exit ramps instead of the current cloverleaf design.

Two lanes of the southbound CIP at the LIE will be closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday for the new ramps’ opening. The ramp from the Throgs Neck Bridge to the southbound CIP and the ramp from the westbound LIE to the southbound CIP will also be closed at that time.

After the new interchange ramps are open, there will no longer be access to the southbound CIP from the westbound LIE service road, the DOT said in a news release.

The only major new ramp in the interchange still left to be opened is the one providing direct access from the eastbound LIE to the southbound CIP, a ramp that is set to open in January, said project spokeswoman Cristina Capurro.

“This is basically finished,” said Capurro of the interchange openings, the first two of which were originally scheduled for last Saturday but were put off because of the blackout, she said.

The DOT could not close lanes during a state of emergency, said Capurro.

The on-ramp from West Alley Road to the southbound Cross Island Parkway was also scheduled for completion in January, said Capurro.

The restoration of Alley Pond and plantings of 12 acres of parkland within the old interchange should be completed by next August, said Capurro.

As for other parts of the construction project, the Little Neck Parkway underpass and the Marathon and Douglaston Parkway overpasses at the LIE are now scheduled for completion in November, said Capurro.

The construction of East Hampton Boulevard over the LIE and the Cloverdale pedestrian bridge are scheduled to be completed in October and November respectively, said Capurro.

According to the contractor’s last timetable, the pedestrian bridge was supposed to be finished before Labor Day and the Marathon and Douglaston Parkway overpasses were to be completed by October.

Heavy rains this spring caused minor delays of one or two months on certain aspects of the project.

“It’s just carrying over the original delays, that’s all,” said Capurro.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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