The $22 million project on Penelope Avenue and 74th Street began in mid-2016, and was supposed to be completed by spring 2018. But the project hit a major snag when the contractor, CAC Industries, found lead-contaminated soil at the construction site in late 2017.
CAC then dumped the toxic soil a block away from a school and left it uncovered. That led to a months-long delay.
Work started back up last October, thanks to an additional $8 million in funding. The project is slated to be completed at the end of the year, according to a spokesman from the Department of Design and Construction (DDC).
Still, local residents are frustrated by the conditions they have to live in everyday.
“The streets are terrible,” said Anthony Torre, a 74th Street resident who has lived in the area for two decades. “It looks like a junk pile.”
Torre said sidewalks are cracked, people’s homes have been damaged and that parking is still limited.
“We’re getting very annoyed with the way this project has been going,” he said.
The Middle Village resident also noticed that construction crews had halted work on the project in recent days.
Ryan Kelley, a spokesman for Councilman Robert Holden, said that according to the contractor, the 74th Street/Penelope Avenue sewer project is transitioning into a restoration phase, which explains the lapse in the work.
The contractor also wants to incorporate a portion of the sewer near the park that wasn’t originally part of the project.
The crews are waiting on approval of a change order to accomplish that task. But according to Kelley, the timeline will not be altered, and the project is still on track to be completed at the end of the year.
But after this sewer project is done, another will begin in Middle Village.
Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5, said the city plans to put a 96-inch diameter sewer starting at Juniper Boulevard South. The sewer will go to 71st Street, and then head under the freight line tracks and toward the Long Island Expressway (LIE).
The project is still in its design phase, which could be wrapped up by this November.
Construction could start next August, Giordano said, with a duration of two to three years. The estimated cost is north of $30 million.
“The sewer line they’re putting in now on 74th Street is larger than the sewer line they are going to connect to,” Giordano said. “That’s probably why they’ve got this idea for this other sewer project.”
For residents like Torre, that means more of the same for the foreseeable future.
“The streets are deplorable,” he said. “We can’t live like this.”