MTA Bridges and Tunnels announced that the new Lily Pond entrance ramp leading to the Brooklyn-bound Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic on Tuesday as part of the ongoing work to improve the ramps and approaches for Staten Island drivers.
The new ramp, which is wider and has one entrance instead of two, is located about 100 feet south of the existing ramp entrance for drivers heading south on Lily Pond Avenue, and will include a new traffic light. Drivers traveling south-bound on Lily Pond will turn on green signal onto the ramp. The light will be synchronized to take turns with northbound vehicles that are making a left turn onto the ramp.
At the top of the fly over ramp vehicles will merge with motorists coming from the Narrows Road South entrance ramp and will have access to both the upper or lower levels of the bridge. “Work will be continuing near the top of the ramp but once it is completed, drivers will have a smoother transition as they drive to either level of the bridge,” said Project Engineer Piv Lim.
Contractor Restani Construction Corp. will demolish the old ramp, and the area where it once stood will eventually be landscaped with trees and other shrubbery.
Restani will also continue working on the lower level connector ramp, which will lead motorists directly from the Staten Island Expressway onto the bridge’s lower level, rehabilitate and widen the Father Capodanno entrance ramp and the westbound Lily Pond exit ramp, and rehabilitate the roadway leading onto the Brooklyn-bound bridge to make it suitable for vehicles driving at highway speeds. The original roadway was designed for the type of stop and go traffic that occurs at a toll plaza but with the elimination of the Brooklyn-bound toll plaza, the roadway pitch and drainage must be updated.
MTA’s $50 million toll plaza improvement project is being done in coordination with New York State Department of Transportation’s Staten Island Expressway improvement project. The MTA project, which is 48 percent completed, is scheduled to be finished by summer 2015.