On Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) began sewer upgrades in Hollis and Queens Village.
The project, part of a $1.9 billion investment by the city to build a comprehensive drainage system in southeast Queens, is expected to be completed by summer 2021.
“With this project, thousands of residents and business owners in Hollis and Queens Village will have their flooding issues addressed and their streets rebuilt,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo.
The work will take place on 20 individual blocks. More than a mile of water mains, some of which were first installed before World War II, will be replaced.
An additional 600 feet of new water mains will be added. The pipes range from six inches to 20 inches in diameter.
The project will replace 18 existing fire hydrants, and install four additional ones at new locations. Two bollards will be placed in front of each fire hydrant as well.
The city will add 16 new catch basins and replace 35 existing ones. A total of 2,030 feet of storm sewers will be added to the neighborhoods, and 1,755 feet of storm sewers will be replaced.
When the sewer infrastructure is complete, the project will replace 13,790 feet of curbs, reconstruct 30,814 square feet of sidewalks and lay down 36,113 square yards of new asphalt.
The curbs and sidewalks will be leveled to help guide the stormwater to the new catch basins.
The project will help residents like Dr. Hazel Smith-Jordan from Hollis, who moved from Guyana to Queens in 1972. She said that persistent ponding issues in front of her driveway have prevented her garbage from being removed.
“When I moved here, the roads seemed to be leaning and the driveways corresponded with the lean on the road,” she said. “I had the unfortunate experiences of my garbage being left behind a couple of times, and I contacted the Department of Sanitation to get it removed because of the flooding.”
Mohammad Awadh, manager of Hollis Deli for a decade, said stormwater ponds in the street for days, and prevents people from using the pedestrian ramp in front of his store.
“The crosswalk that leads to the pedestrian ramp outside of the store entrance is inaccessible for a couple of days when it rains,” Awadh said. “People have to jump over or walk on the road to escape the water.”
Councilman I. Daneek Miller said in a statement that the installation of new drainage will provide much-needed relief in those areas.
“Undoubtedly, the period of construction will be inconvenient,” he said, “but our expectation is that constant engagement and transparency about the project’s progression will help mitigate inconveniences while promoting the project’s long-term benefits.”