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Nassau Expressway undergoes $130 million overhaul

Parts of the Nassau Expressway in Inwood will

Parts of the Nassau Expressway in Inwood will be elevated three to four feet above the floodplain. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A $130 million construction project has begun on problem intersections of the Nassau Expressway to prevent flooding and ease congestion along the roadway, a 6.35-mile evacuation route that runs from the Atlantic Beach Bridge to Howard Beach.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced the start of construction, saying in a news release that it would be completed in December 2019 — six years ahead of schedule.

State comptroller records show that the Tully Group was awarded a $93.5 million contract on May 23 for the work on the Nassau Expressway, which is also known as State Route 878.

The remaining $36.5 million is for preliminary engineering, hydraulic analysis and environmental process work, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Construction began Tuesday and Tully will be working during the day and at night, according to the DOT. Day-to-day work hours have not yet been determined.

“They will do some work during the day but actual day-to-day work hours are yet to be determined,” according to the DOT.

Work is planned at Burnside Avenue in Inwood, Bay Boulevard in Inwood and Rockaway Turnpike in Lawrence. The 0.7-mile stretch carries more than 56,000 vehicles daily and was constructed in 1975 as an interim roadway, officials said.

“It’s really important that we make that roadway safe and navigable when there are safety issues and weather issues,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said.

The construction project will raise the roadway three to four feet above the floodplain — it’s currently 2.5 feet below the 100-year floodplain — and build new drainage structures, according to the release. A new bike and pedestrian path, as well as turning lanes, will also be created.

“For decades, people have been wanting to overhaul the expressway because it constantly floods, it’s full of potholes, there’s constantly a traffic snarl there,” state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said.

Officials also plan to remove a mound of construction debris — which local residents call the Inwood mound — that rises 30 to 50 feet above the roadway.

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