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Construction To Begin On Staten Island Expressway

This 2002 photo shows the westbound Staten Island Expressway (I-278) at EXIT 9 (NY 440 / Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Expressway). (Photo by Jim K. Georges/nycroads.com)

This 2002 photo shows the westbound Staten Island Expressway (I-278) at EXIT 9 (NY 440 / Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Expressway). (Photo by Jim K. Georges/nycroads.com)

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ AP) – The Staten Island Expressway is getting a $75 million facelift.

Monday’s groundbreaking marks construction on the Staten Island Expressway Improvements project. Officials say it’s the largest Recovery Act project in New York State and will create 150 jobs over the course of the project in addition to solving major congestion issues for Staten Island commuters.

“We’ve needed, for a long time, to reconfigure the access to allow people to get on to the expressway sooner and be able to exit closer to their destination to alleviate some of the bottleneck,” Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York, told 1010 WINS. 

The project involves improving entrance and exit ramps near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

“Particularly for people who live on Staten Island, this exit is one of the most heavily used because it takes you right into what I would call one of the key residential areas on Staten Island,” Richardson said. “Anybody on Staten Island driving during the week or on the weekend have all sat in traffic at this exit.”

State DOT officials say funding for the project includes $39.5 million from the American Recovery Act, a 2005 Bond Act and federal interstate maintenance funding.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)