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State dredges Alley Pond for highway renovations

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The state Department of Transportation began dredging Alley Pond last week in the last phase of renovations to the Cross Island Parkway/Long Island Expressway interchange, a spokeswoman for the project said.

Meanwhile, the construction of a high-occupancy vehicle lane on the LIE between Little Neck Parkway and Jericho, L.I. is being delayed by several months due to bad weather.

The state Department of Transportation began preparation work to dredge Alley Pond last week, said Cristina Capurro, a spokeswoman for the agency.

“They have to rebuild the entire thing,” said Capurro, referring to the restoration of the pond and reforestation of parkland within the interchange.

The landscaping project, set to begin in the spring, is scheduled for completion by August, she said. The work will mark the end of the three-year LIE/CIP interchange reconstruction.

The $150 million project replaced the old loop ramps with direct ramps from the westbound LIE to the southbound CIP, and from the southbound CIP to the eastbound LIE. Work also included the reconstruction of West Alley Road, and the LIE crossings at Little Neck, Marathon and Douglaston parkways as well as East Hampton Boulevard.

“Every bridge structure, every new ramp has been opened in its final configuration,” Capurro said.

The final completion of the project was delayed a year by heavy snow and rain last winter and spring, factors that have also postponed the opening of a high-occupancy vehicle lane on the LIE from the Little Neck Parkway exit to Jericho in Nassau County, said DOT spokeswoman Pat Audinot.

“The anticipated completion is only months, not years, delayed,” Audinot said. “It was one of the biggest projects we have seen in recent years from the DOT.”

The HOV lane, originally scheduled to open this summer, is now set for a spring 2005 opening, she said. Once open, the lane will require at least two passengers in cars weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Audinot said construction caused daytime single lane closures on the eastbound LIE from the city line to Lakeville Road but that most of the work was done at night.

“We do this especially at night so we have less impact on the traveling public and also for communities along the LIE,” Audinot said.

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

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