The New York State Department of Transportation is finally responding to year of complaints regarding “parking lot” conditions on the Staten Island Expressway with plans to build a 1.2 mile auxiliary lane between Clove Road and Bradley Avenue.

The auxiliary lane will run along both sides of the highway and will be continuous helping to improve the flow of traffic and reduce accidents by cutting down on the number of drivers who weave in and out of the three travel lanes trying to enter and exit the highway.

Construction is expected to begin late next year and will involve the dismantling of the abandoned interchange above the expressway between the Slosson Avenue and Clove Road exit in order to make room for the new lanes as well as the shifting of the alignment of the highway in some areas. The improvements are expected to cost approximately $20 million.

“The Staten Island Expressway is a critical link in the highway system on the island and in the entire metropolitan area,” said Acting DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee. “Over the years, [the state DOT] has undertaken smaller-scale improvements at this challenging location, and while the results have been positive, none have had the effect that these improvements will bring.”

The auxiliary lane work will coincide with the extension bus lane from Slosson Avenue to Victory Boulevard that is planned for 2011 and will include the addition of police enforced areas used to monitor use of the lane. DOT officials have also introduced plans to address the Richmond Avenue entrance and exit ramps, which cut through a residential neighborhood and the future removal of the defunct eastbound Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge tollbooths has already been planned.

Months of construction are ahead but City Councilman, James Oddo, says, “It’s going to be painful, but what’s the alternative? If this helps with the flow, and it will, that’s a bullet we’re going to have to bite.”