Section of FDR Drive North Closed Until 9:00 Tonight


fdr-drive-brooklyn-bridgeNew York City has shut down a major chunk of the FDR Drive for 24 hours to shore up the ground and pilings that hold up the river-hugging highway. All three northbound lanes of the major East River thoroughfare, between E. Houston to E. 23rd Sts., will be closed until 9 tonight. Officials insist the roadway isn’t about to slough off into the river – if it were, they said, it would already be closed.

The highway sits atop a mix of solid ground, loose fill, a Con Edison intake pipe from a nearby power plant and pilings in the water, which were compromised when a hole recently appeared in the roadway’s edge along the river.

Still, they said they urgently needed to patch the holes and install temporary bridging underneath the pavement so they could start fixing the problem – and prevent more complications later on.

The closure is expected to cause a behemoth of a bottleneck for morning rush hour today as drivers are detoured around the roadblock to First Ave.

Daily News traffic columnist Gridlock Sam said the around-the-clock repair work will also cause a flood of traffic on the West Side Highway.

But First Ave. – the recommended alternate from Houston to 23rd St., where drivers can reenter the FDR – will be hell.

City transportation officials warn the work won’t be just a 24-hour patchup. While two of the lanes are expected to be reopened by 9 p.m. tonight, the right-hand northbound lane will stay closed until further notice.

News of the closing left regular FDR drivers and area residents honking mad.

“It becomes a nightmare when they do that,” said lower East Sider Rafael Rodriguez, 48, who drives a cab. “Everyone takes First Ave. It clogs the streets and becomes hell.”

Mateo Jurado said he expects to see a parade of angry drivers passing through his neighborhood. “People start honking and yelling,” he said. “Everyone wants to go on faster.”

Theresa Williams, who usually takes the FDR north when she drives, predicted a rash of car crashes due to the closing.

“It’s bad,” Williams said. “It always causes accidents by people trying to get off the ramp and drive off.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}