Juniper Park Civic Association Treasurer Tony Nunziato recently met with Greg Lavine, District Director from the Office of Congresswoman Grace Meng, to resurrect the fight to make the LIE through Maspeth and Middle Village more quiet.

In 1997 the New York State Department of Transportation widened the Long Island Expressway. At that time the Juniper Park Civic Association created a task force to deal with several issues relating to the expansion. The State decided to replace the asphalt roadbed with concrete. This decision has had a huge negative impact on the community. Concrete as a roadbed is much noisier than asphalt. As a result the JPCA protested and the State was forced to install sound barriers. However sound barriers are only effective for reducing noise within 500 feet. The JPCA called for an asphalt roadbed instead of concrete. However the state said that asphalt has to be replaced every five years where a concrete roadbed can last up to 20 years. That is little consolation to the residents living near the LIE. At the time the JPCA called for the roadbed to be Diamond Ground.

The process of Diamond Grinding rakes the concrete perpendicular to the direction of travel. Diamond grinding uses a machine which essentially sands the roadway, like sandpaper. A small portion of the LIE in Maspeth was Diamond Ground and sound studies showed lower decibel readings at the sanded section. It was recommended that this procedure be employed at that section of the LIE if not along the whole length of the expressway where concrete was used. According to the State DOT, it should reduce noise levels by 5-6 decibels. However back in 2000 the State had promised to Diamond Grind the roadbed then later reneged saying it wasn’t in the budget.

Since the concrete roadbed was installed on the LIE in Maspeth and Elmhurst the noise levels have reached deafening levels and can be heard as far as a mile away. Residents living near the expressway, have complained of unhealthy noise levels. In 1999 the State DOT conducted sound studies from 69th Street to 75th Street in Maspeth and the results confirmed that the noise levels were well above acceptable limits.

Hopefully Congresswoman Meng can get the State to invest in sound reduction on the LIE.