The reconstruction of the Kew Gardens Interchange, a five year, $146.5 million effort to improve safety and traffic flow has broken ground.

The reconstruction project which is expected to create approximately 200 professional and trade labor jobs as well as hundreds of supplier, fabricator and subcontractor jobs overall is being funded by a contract awarded to ECCO III of Yonkers by the New York State Department of Transportation and the 2005 Transportation Bond Act, a key source of funding for the 2005-2010 capital program.

The current five year capital plan is facing a $10 billion shortfall but luckily this project was fully funded in the 2009-2010 fiscal year which ended on March 31, 2010. All projects need to have funding secured before going forward in order to escape the  budget shortfalls. Therefore, any future shortfalls will not affect the Kew Gardens Interchange project.

The first phase of the reconstruction project will consist of addressing four problematic areas on the Kew Gardens Interchange; the city’s most intricate but most dangerous interchange. Improving alignment and traffic flow are also part of the first phase. Other phases will consist of improving 17 more areas and replacing four overpass bridges as well as reconstructing two bridges and rebuilding a pedestrian underpass leading to the entrance of the Briarwood Van Wyck subway station.

Completion is scheduled for the end of summer 2015.

-Carolina Worrell