On August 31 Dom Pistone, Al Brand and Murray Berger of KGCA met with representatives of the NYC Department of Design and Construction and of Maspeth Supply Company, the contractor, for a briefing on the upcoming Water Main Project [QED996] in Kew Gardens; also present were members of Community Board 9. Except for the five streets from Mowbray Drive to Union Turnpike, north of the LIRR, virtually all streets in Kew Gardens will be affected; Austin Street from Lefferts Boulevard to 82nd Avenue/Onslow Place, however, is also included in the Project.
The project will cost about $9.5 million (all City money) and is scheduled to begin sometime in October and continue for two years. The precise schedule of where and when the project will start and where it will proceed has yet to be determined; Maspeth Supply is looking for a store or other suitable site in Kew Gardens for a field office. All work will be done between 7:00am--3:30pm, 8am-4pm or 9am-3pm, depending on location. Printed notices will be sent to affected homeowners on blocks to be worked on. No cars should be parked on the street the night before and during the day of the construction; the work will go faster if the contractor does not have to tow parked cars. Access to your own driveway will be limited and probably unavailable during the day; access will be restored at the end of the day. DDC estimates that excavation will be done at the rate of 200-250 feet a day, which in some areas of Kew Gardens is one block, or one-half block on the longer blocks. Sidewalks are not expected to be worked on except around hydrants; any sidewalk damage will be repaired by Maspeth Supply.
At some point, the water to affected houses will be turned off for up to eight hours; notice will be given the day before. It was suggested that homeowners turn off the main valve at the water meters until notified that water has been turned on in the street, Hydrants will be opened to flush out sediment until the water runs clean. It is not anticipated that there will be a gray water problem. Homeowners with special serious needs (such as home care dialysis) that would be adversely affected by a water shutoff should contact the project manager/resident engineer in advance.
We were told that when the project is finished, all water in the Kew Gardens affected area will be City reservoir water and that there should be noticeable improvement in water pressure, since the new pipes will be 8" or 12" in diameter, replacing smaller diameter pipes that are likely to be even smaller now because they were diminished by years of corrosion. The old pipes were cast iron and the new pies will be cement-lined. One caveat: the feeder line from the water main to a house may be corroded or diminished from age, which would limit the increase in pressure. Also the new pressure could conceivably cause a breakage in the old feeder pipes and the repair or replacement would be the homeowner's responsibility.
The contractor will repave the cuts made in the street and/or sidewalks including handicapped access ramps if they are disturbed, but the streets will not be completely repaved, only the excavations. The excavations recently under way have been done by National Grid, the gas company, because any gas lines in the way of the new pipes had to be moved; National Grid is responsible for repaving any cuts they made. Complaints about National Grid work that is unsatisfactory should be made to 311 and to Karen Koslowitz, our City Council Member. A number of catch basins were recently replaced as well (we don't know by whom!) for the same reason. If you become aware of a catch basin that clogs up and may need replacement, please call 311 and then call Community Board 9 with the tracking number that you will receive from 311.
For the two "official" pages of City info (and more detailed advice), posted by the Department of Design and Construction, with a revised map showing streets affected, click below: