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Queensboro Bridge Lane Will Be Closed Overnight to Prevent Speeding

By Katie Honan | December 25, 2013 1:09pm
 The move to close the lane comes after a deadly crash earlier in December.
The move to close the lane comes after a deadly crash earlier in December.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

LONG ISLAND CITY — One lane of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed overnight in an effort to reduce speeding and prevent accidents near a part of the bridge some have dubbed a "death trap" for drivers, the Department of Transportation said.

The single lane of the Queens-bound outer roadway of the bridge will close starting Dec. 30 from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day, when the lane is most underused, the DOT said.

“This upgrade to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is just the latest step we’ve taken to keep the more than 180,000 daily drivers crossing safely on one of the city’s most iconic bridges,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The closure comes after a review of existing safety measures, travel speeds and traffic volume overnight following a deadly crash involving an NYPD officer earlier this month.

Officer Elisa Toro, 36, was killed when her car struck a metal railing at the base of the bridge on Dec. 10, catapulting the vehicle into a vacant Long Island City storefront at 25-06 Queens Plaza South that had been destroyed in a fatal crash two years before, officials said.

Toro, a mother of two from The Bronx, was ejected from her car when she hit a barrier designed to stop cars from hitting the stores near the ramp, according to officials.

She crashed near the scene of a series of serious accidents in 2011 and 2012, the result of motorists having trouble negotiating a sharp turn in an off-ramp from the bridge.

Those crashes, which left two dead, spurred legislators to push for improved safety measures at the location, which has long been referred to as a "death trap" by politicians and residents.

Since 2011, the DOT has installed various safety measures at the location, including three "20 MPH" signs, reflectors, four sets of rumble strips and an electronic sign that displays the speed of passing motorists.

Businesses near the location filed a $1 million lawsuit, which is still pending, seeking damages after cars careened into their storefronts twice.

The lane will be closed by NYPD traffic officers and agents who are already stationed at the bridge.