The $74.8 million project to improve access on the Staten Island Expressway on a 1.9-mile section between Lily Pond Road and Clove Road has broken ground.

The project which includes the addition of lanes and ramps, the widening of overpasses and the realigning and leveling of the highway’s steepest curves in order to help with its infamous traffic received the largest amount of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act highway dollars in New York State with $39.5 million. Work on the project also includes the extension of bus lanes and the dismantling of unused overpasses.

“Residents and commuters will spend less time stuck in traffic and get where they need to go more quickly,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez who joined state and local officials at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This investment from the Recovery Act will reduce congestion and the new jobs will help stimulate the city’s economy.”

Work on the Staten Island Expressway Recovery Project is being performed by The Laquila Group of Brooklyn, New York with completion expected in summer 2012.

-Carolina Worrell