LIC bridge renovations hurt area

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Call it a troubled bridge over polluted waters.

The city has closed a bridge on a major Long Island City thoroughfare for six months, raising concerns about how the crowded industrial neighborhood will cope with numerous detours.

The 101−year−old Borden Avenue Bridge over the Dutch Kills tributary of the polluted Newtown Creek will be shut off from traffic between now and July while the city Department of Transportation conducts major repairs. Inspectors found major cracks in the bridge and determined the abutment wall along the west bank needed to be replaced, a DOT official said.

Manhattan−bound vehicles will have to hang a right onto 30th Place and left on Hunters Point Avenue before going left on 25th Street to return to Borden Avenue on the other side of the creek. Eastbound drivers will have to go left on 25th Street, right on 51st Avenue, left on 27th Street, right on 49th Avenue and right on 30th Street to bypass the closed section of Borden Avenue.

News of the closure had Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley a little worried.

“It’s certainly going to have an impact on businesses in the area and people who use that route,” he said, noting Borden Avenue is heavily traveled by trucks en route to the Queens Midtown Tunnel trying to avoid the traffic snarls of the Long Island Expressway.

Businesses in the region affected by the closure include the successful grocery delivery company Fresh Direct and numerous warehouses.

Tony Araujo, owner of Spark’s Deli at 28−31 Borden Ave., said the bridge has been closed since New Year’s Day and his patrons have disappeared.

“There’s nobody working over there, but yet the street is closed and it’s affecting my business,” he said, noting most of his regular customers are truck drivers delivering cargo to the industrial neighborhood. “It’s at least 40 percent down. They don’t permit any traffic in the area.”

Some of the traffic officers diverting vehicles from the bridge come in for food, but it has not made up for the loss of regular customers, he said.

The traffic change is not unheard of, Conley said, noting the city conducted similar work roughly eight years ago.

“It seemed like it was a workable alternative, but certainly we’re hoping the work is completed in a timely fashion,” he said.

Araujo hopes so, too.

“At the moment I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” he said. “I want to see ow the week goes. There are still people on vacation from the holidays.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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