The last exit before the Throgs Neck Bridge has received improvements that will permit motorists to make an easy left or right turn off from the highway onto Throgs Neck Expresssway.
Prior to the change, Exit 9 off-ramp had a sharp turn that forced motorists to go a right, towards Pennyfield Avenue.
Cars would have to inch out onto the Throgs Neck Expressway service road to see if there was oncoming traffic, resulting in many near accidents.
The improvements, which were made at the end of December 2010, created two separate roadways that branch out from the exit allowing motorists to go right towards Pennyfield Avenue and left towards Harding Avenue and Locust Point.
The work was completed after Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto both contacted the state Department of Transportation in November 2010 to see what could be done about improving traffic flow and making the exit safer.
The result was a newly designed exit, the replacement of a badly-battered guard rail with a flexible traffic guide and a narrower lane to slow down motorists as they reach the service road.
“Over the past several months, Assemblyman Benedetto and I have pushed for the cleanup and repair of Exit 9 off of Interstate 295, an area that was not only an eyesore but a safety concern as well,” Klein said. “I am pleased that the New York State DOT took the necessary steps to improve and beautify this area. We will continue to monitor the conditions of our highways, roads and exits to ensure safer travel, including this exit in particular.”
The exit was previously designed to prevent motorists from trying to re-access the highway bduring heavy traffic conditions, Benedetto explained. It was such a serious problem years ago that the on-ramp to access the bridge, which is located nearby, had to be closed to traffic. Currently, that on-ramp is open during off-peak hours only.
“Before the modification, when you got off the exit at Harding Avenue, you were forced to make a right hand turn because of the way the exit was shaped,” Benedetto said. “After years of scolding them and prodding them, we are really glad that the NYS DOT has made it easier to make a left off of the expressway.”
The improvements permit motorists easier access to Locust Point, said Locust Point Civic Association president Jerry Landi. Landi said that the newly designed ramp increases visibility for cars exiting the highway, and also makes for more concern-free driving on the service road.
“In the past, you had to inch out into the service road from the exit after stopping, to see if any cars were coming,” Landi said. “I am very happy with it and I cannot see why anyone else would not be. Everyone I have spoken to said that it is safer. A lot of people who bring their children to and from school on the service road tell me that they feel safer.”