Brutal Winter Further Delays Opening of Briarwood Subway Entrance
QUEENS — The opening of a new entrance to the Briarwood-Van Wyck F train station, initially scheduled for last fall, has now been delayed until summer because of the brutally cold winter and problems getting material and construction equipment, the state Department of Transportation said.
The lengthy construction project, which started in 2010, has created a number of problems in Briarwood along Queens Boulevard, ruining sidewalks, disrupting traffic patterns and disturbing residents with ongoing noise.
Meanwhile, Briarwood residents have had to use the entrance located near Maple Grove Cemetery, across the Van Wyck and a long walk from the residential part of the neighborhood.
The new subway entrance, on Queens Boulevard and Main Street, was initially scheduled to open last fall, but was delayed until March 2014, because workers found lead paint in the existing tunnel that had to be removed, officials said.
The new entrance, next to the Briarwood branch of the Queens Public Library, is being built by the state DOT as part of the $147 million Kew Gardens Interchange project, which will widen the Van Wyck Expressway and rebuild its bridges and ramps.
Recently, a framework for a cover over the new entrance was installed, but officials said the project is still far from complete.
The opening is now scheduled for summer, state DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen said in an email.
“The extended cold weather this winter delayed tile work at the entrance,” Breen said. There were "Delays in obtaining the stone material needed for the entrance and electrical equipment needed to finish the pedestrian tunnel and elevator, as well as installing that electrical service,” she added.
Officials said that the exact date of the station opening has not been decided. “We are working to determine a more exact date as early in the summer as possible,” Breen noted.
Aida Vernon, the president of Briarwood Action Network, a civic association that focuses on problems in the Briarwood community, said the delay “means further inconvenience” for residents who “have been very patiently waiting for it to reopen.”
She said there are plans to plant trees around the area.
“Hopefully, when it’s done there will be trees and landscaping and it will beautify the area right outside of [the nearby] playground and near the subway entrance,” Vernon said.