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Flooded Far Rockaway Street Still Freezing Over, But Help Coming

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Help is on the way for a Queens neighborhood that has been experiencing repeated street flooding for more than a year — and in this week’s blast of bitter cold, the water has turned to ice.

But as CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, for Far Rockaway residents who can no longer even drive down Pinson Street, the improvements cannot come soon enough.

CBS 2 first visited the neighborhood in July and then again in December. The floodwaters, believed to be overflow from the sewer and nearby Jamaica Bay, are still there, a huge disappointment for residents.

“It’s too long,” said Suchita Sharmien. “It’s already one year we’re living like that.”

“It’s frustrating to live here every day,” added Charles Burkhead.

Residents say the situation has become hazardous. Police have put up caution tape along the street.

“Each and every day now, cars are going into the potholes, and someone has to tow them out,” Burkhead said.

It’s not just cars. Last week, one Pinson Street resident shot cellphone video of a school bus full of kids unable to navigate through the murky lagoon of ice and water, which residents say has overtaken their neighborhood.

On Thursday, City Councilman Donovan Richards, D-Far Rockaway; the Department of Environmental Protection; and the Department of Design and Construction announced that a $22.5 million project to rebuild the sewer system in the neighborhood will begin this summer.

News of the project was unexpected. Last month, residents were told the repairs, which were scheduled for 2015, were being placed on hold.

“My job is to at least push the city to try to put something temporary in place to help them,” Richards said.

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