Reporting Hazel Sanchez
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It has happened again: for the second time in two weeks, a car has gone careening off the road at the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge and smashed into the same building in Long Island City.
Now, the Department of Transportation said it will finally do something to stop the off-ramp danger, reports CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez.
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Police said the driver lost control of his 2006 Volkswagen Jetta as he navigated the outer ramp of the bridge and struck a store front.
“The turn from the outer bridge is quite sharp, to be honest with you, and that’s what is causing these accidents,” resident Sunny Gulati said.
Fire officials said the 39-year-old driver suffered a partially severed arm and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.
The front seat passenger, a 40-year-old woman, suffered head trauma and was listed in critical condition at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The accident occurred shortly before 4 a.m. Wednesday.
The driver has been arrested. Charges are pending.
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The same salon and restaurant was hit in a similar accident last week that killed a 68-year-old pedestrian.
The salon’s owner said he was in shock.
“It was a terrifying experience for me,” salon owner Akber Giwani said. “I opened this business three months ago, and in a week, this is the second time I’m coming here. I’m really scared from this place now.”
Life-long neighborhood resident Robert Sniffin said they were accidents waiting to happen.
“It wasn’t a surprise this morning when I turned on the news and saw the car inside the store,” Sniffin said.
Sniffin said the intersection is a mess. Coming off the bridge into Queens, drivers are confronted by jersey barriers, merging traffic and a sharp right turn. If they’re driving too fast, locals said, it’s a recipe for disaster.
“Cars fly down that bridge, and at the bottom there there’s a merge of three separate lanes – and that jersey barrier created a real problem,” Sniffin said.
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Walls scarred with tire marks are evidence of the many close calls by speeding cars maneuvering through the merging traffic and barricades.
“The temporary barriers that were put up clearly do not allow time for cars to become aware that there’s a lane shift,” Giwani’s attorney, Scott Agulnick, said. “As a result, people are bouncing off the barrier, and this is the result.”
Giwani said his salon wasn’t insured, and that he had no intention of rebuilding on the same spot.
“I would not want it here again, because it happened twice in 10 days,” he said.
The Department of Transportation released a statement on Wednesday saying the agency will address the troublesome intersection.
“Excessive speed appears to be the dominant factor,” the statement said. “DOT will add signs to remind motorists of the bridge’s 30 mph speed limit and will also install rumble strips.”