NYSDOT Announces Award of Recovery Act Construction Contract on Staten Island

Expressway Project Construction to Begin in Early Summer

ALBANY, NY (06/10/2010)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee today announced that the $74.8 million Staten Island Expressway Access Improvements contract in Richmond County has been awarded to the construction firm The Laquila Group. The project is funded by both the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the 2005 New York State Bond Act.

"Staten Islanders rely on highways for their daily commutes more than any other borough, and it is for this reason that I have directed NYSDOT to commit the largest allocation of Recovery Act funding to the Staten Island Expressway," said Governor David A. Paterson. "These improvements will be the first major modifications to the highway in two generations, and I commend Acting Commissioner Gee, department staff and the Staten Island elected officials who worked diligently to achieve this important project milestone."

"We are pleased to see this important project reach this major milestone," said Acting Commissioner Gee. "With the contract award now in place, construction to modernize this vital Staten Island corridor can begin. Under the leadership of Governor Paterson and with the assistance of our federal and state elected officials, NYSDOT can now implement changes to the Staten Island Expressway that serve the needs of the hundreds of thousands of residents and commuters who rely on this highway every day."

"It is outstanding news that we can jumpstart this essential project that will stimulate community development, alleviate traffic and spur job growth," said Senator Charles Schumer. "Not only will this project create much needed jobs and provide a boost to Staten Island's economy, it will greatly improve the commutes of thousand of Staten Islanders. By investing our federal dollars in transportation projects, we ensure the best in roads and highways across Staten Island and the nation."

"This is great news for Staten Island commuters who depend on the Staten Island Expressway every day," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "This needed investment of federal dollars will help reduce traffic and congestion at the borough's main commuter corridor and will create a facility that better serves the needs of Staten Island residents."

The Staten Island Expressway (SIE), also known as Interstate 278, is the main commuter and freight corridor in Staten Island and one of the most heavily traveled highways in New York City, carrying up to 190,000 vehicles each day. The SIE Access Improvements project will seek to revise the layout of the entrance and exit ramps on the 1.8-mile section of highway between the Verrazano Narrows Bridge toll plaza and Clove Road for the first time since the road opened in 1964. By reconfiguring the ramps in both directions, the SIE Access Improvements project will result in a facility that better meets the needs of Staten Island residents. Ramp access points to the highway will be relocated to allow motorists to enter sooner and exit closer to their destination, and points of conflict associated with entering and exiting vehicles will be eliminated.

Funding for the project includes $39.5 million from the Recovery Act, the largest single allocation of these funds for any NYSDOT project statewide. Additional funding sources include the 2005 Bond Act and federal interstate maintenance funding. Rep. Michael E. McMahon (D – Staten Island and Brooklyn), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, voted in favor of the Recovery Act and was instrumental in working with Governor Paterson and Acting Commissioner Gee to have funds directed towards the Staten Island Expressway project.

"Anyone who has ever driven on the Staten Island Expressway understands how critical this project is to our infrastructure," said Rep. McMahon. "On behalf of my constituents, I thank Governor Paterson and NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Gee for recognizing the need to alleviate the severe congestion on the expressway and neighboring streets. I am especially pleased that more than half of this project is funded by the Recovery Act. This funding will modernize our infrastructure while providing good paying jobs for hundreds of local workers. It is a huge win for all of Staten Island."

"With the awarding of this contract, the often congested Staten Island Expressway will be modernized and residents from across Staten Island will have improved ramp access along one of the most congested parts of the Expressway," said Senator Andrew Lanza. "I commend acting State DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee and his staff for focusing their attention on Staten Island's traffic problems and delivering real solutions to those problems."

"This funding is an essential investment in our island's infrastructure," said Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D, Mid-Island). "That's why I voted to put the New York State Bond Act of 2005 on the ballot. The people chose to adopt it, and now this funding, along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will help to ease traffic on the often congested Staten Island Expressway. The construction will not only help with traffic consideration, but it will create much needed jobs in our communities, a serious consideration during these trying times."

Assembly Member Janele Hyer-Spencer said, "I am pleased the Staten Island Expressway improvement project is making steady progress. These upgrades will make the Expressway safer, ease traffic congestion and improve the overall quality of life on Staten Island."

Minority Leader James Oddo said, "These improvements are necessary to better serve Staten Islanders who utilize the Staten Island Expressway. I am pleased to have had the chance to advocate for these improvements with Congressman McMahon and to work closely with DOT to make them a reality. These Access Improvements, along with other planned improvements on the SIE, will go along way toward improving traffic flow and making the quality of life better for Staten Island residents."

"This project is one of the keys to maintaining New York City's road and bridge infrastructure and vital to Staten Island, a borough whose residents rely on vehicular traffic more than residents in other parts of New York City," said Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association. "The members of the GCA and their crews look forward to completing this much needed project and providing New Yorkers with an improved road network to meet the increasing demands facing, drivers, residents, businesses and commuters."

Major improvements in the eastbound direction include new entrance ramps from Clove Road and Hylan Boulevard, new exit ramps near Targee Street and Fingerboard Road, and improvements to the Lily Pond Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard entrance ramps. Eastbound work will also include auxiliary lanes connecting the new ramps and the closure of the Targee Street entrance ramp.

In the westbound direction, improvements include a new entrance ramp near Targee Street and new exit ramps near Fingerboard Road, Hylan Boulevard and Clove Road. Westbound work will also include the extension of Lincoln Place to connect with Narrows Road North and the closure of the entrance ramp near Lincoln Place, as well as auxiliary lanes connecting the new entrance and exit ramps. Work to widen the Fingerboard Road bridge will accommodate the new auxiliary lanes on the expressway and will also permit the addition of a turning lane on the bridge.

With the award of the contract to The Laquila Group, construction is expected to begin by early summer, with project completion expected in late 2012. During construction, all travel lanes on the expressway will be maintained throughout morning and evening peak periods, and existing access ramps will be kept open until replacements are open to traffic.