Today’s news:

Roadwork advances along the Belt Parkway

Drivers can soon expect a smoother trip into Mill Basin.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to finish paving the eastbound roadway of the Belt Parkway at the Mill Basin drawbridge this month and will begin the westbound roadway in October. The work includes subsurface repairs and installation of new asphalt and pavement markings. The work has necessitated lane closures, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.,on the left lane of the eastbound roadway, and from 1-5 a.m., on center lane of the eastbound roadway. According to the agency, traffic will not be detoured off the parkway on to local streets and the pedestrian/bike path will remain open at all times.

Dorothy Turano, the district manager of Community Board 18, said the board has been monitoring the work. “It’s an ongoing project,” she said.

The DOT said the resurfacing work is being done in anticipation of a larger project, the reconstruction of Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway bridges, a massive initiative which will commence this fall.

The new Mill Basin bridge, along with the Paerdegat Basin bridge, will be constructed off-site,alongside the existing spans. Traffic will flow on the existing bridges until the new structures are completed. Work on the Mill Basin bridges will start in late 2010.

The first phase of the project, the reconstruction ofthe Rockaway Parkway, Fresh Creek,Paerdegat Basin, begins this year. That phase is expected to cost $330 million, federal funds the agency has said are already in place.

According to the DOT, the seven bridges were built beginning in 1939, and have all “outlived their useful lives and must be replaced.”

During the past 60 years, the opening of New York International Airport (today John F. Kennedy International Airport), the rise of Long Island’s suburbs post-World War II, and the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964—are said to have increased demand along the parkway. Other bridges that will be overhauled include the Fresh Creek, Gerritsen Inlet, Rockaway Parkway, Nostrand Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue.

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