A NYC Department of Environmental Protection construction project that has caused traffic congestion just outside the Jacobi Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine will continue through fall 2018, according to city officials.
The DEP is working to replace existing sanitary and storm sewer structures in the Westchester Creek area and install upgraded water treatment equipment.
The project will also include the relocation of a gas main on Eastchester Road, installation of new traffic control devices on Eastchester Road, Morris Park Avenue and Waters Place.
During the $22 million project, the DEP will substantially enlarge two underground regulators, or sewer junctures, under Eastchester Road to reduce the discharge of raw sewage into Westchester Creek.
In addition to work at the busy intersection, work is also being performed between Waters Place and Bassett Avenue, on the west side of Eastchester Road and on Morris Park Avenue west of the intersection.
About 400 million gallons of sludge will be diverted to the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant annually once the project is completed, according to the DEP.
Elizabeth Santamaria, the construction community liaison for the DEC, said changes to the traffic lanes and patterns at the intersection are only temporary.
“The traffic re-route on Morris Park Avenue and Eastchester Road for the Westchester Creek CSO Modifications is only through the duration of the project.”
In addition to noise and dust from the construction work, area residents are also advised there will be limited parking on Eastchester Road and limited street access from some side roads.
Area residents may also experience water service interruptions, however the DEP will notify residents by 4 p.m. the day before.
Water service will be restored every day by 6 p.m.
Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Werneke said the project has been a headache for drivers since it began, and relief was not in sight any time soon.
The traffic has been a topic of discussion at CB 11 meetings.
“It’s going on until 2018 and they haven’t even started on Waters Place yet,” Werneke said. “The backup of traffic has been horrendous.”
The reconstruction project was applauded by Councilman James Vacca.
He said his office had received regular complaints about the odor and appearance of the creek, which is located a half mile from the project, and said it had been a topic of complaint for decades.
Vacca spokesman Frank Fraioli said Vacca’s staff had called for traffic agents to help alleviate backups at the site in October.
The DEP now has assigned traffic agents at the scene from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Two traffic agents are stationed at the intersection, while one works at Morris Park and another BY ARTHUR at Eastchester Road.
There have not been any formal complaints about traffic made to the councilman’s office the past month, he said.