Roadway project finishing ahead of schedule expected to help Gowanus bottleneck
A major phase of a project to improve traffic flow from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to the eastbound, or northbound, Gowanus Expressway is on track to finish this month, two months ahead of schedule.
The newly widened roadway will reduce congestion for drivers heading into Brooklyn and Manhattan, especially during the morning and afternoon peak periods, according to the MTA.
The roadway portion of the project includes opening a fourth lane on the eastbound Gowanus Expressway and widening the segment of the roadway from 92nd Street to the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit, reducing traffic-weaving, improving safety and eliminating a current bottleneck that results in traffic back-ups.
This could also have a “ripple effect,” helping drivers who enter the Gowanus in Bay Ridge or Sunset Park, heading for northern Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan.
Motorists are expected to collectively save an estimated 1,000 hours daily and more than 360,000 travel time hours annually, the MTA said. The time savings also would result in the elimination of more than 1,500 tons of carbon emissions per year.
“This project is an example of how MTA Construction & Development is completing projects faster and cheaper than ever before, even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction & Development.
Work was completed to expand the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit ramp to two lanes and add a fourth eastbound lane from the Verrazzano to the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit. The project will continue to implement additional sign improvements on the westbound roadway heading to the Staten Island-bound Verrazzano. Variable electronic message signs (VMS) and advance lane-use signals are slated to be installed to enhance the motorist experience.
The Gowanus Expressway, part of I-278, runs six miles between the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Interchange, passing through or skirting around such Brooklyn neighborhoods as Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, the South Slope and Red Hook.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of more than 60,000 vehicles per day traveled eastbound from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to the Gowanus Expressway, according to MTA statistics.
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