NYC Starts Work on Flood-Prone Queens Street, Then Ditches It - NBC New York

NYC Starts Work on Flood-Prone Queens Street, Then Ditches It

The city promised to fix the chronic flooding in Middle Village with a $22 million project, but the work dropped in November of 2017

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frustrations Over Repeat Queens Flooding

    Neighbors in a Queens neighborhood say whenever it rains heavily in their area it starts to flood, sending water and sewage flooding into their homes and garages. Jummy Olabanji reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018)

    What to Know

    • Residents in Middle Village, Queens, are fed up with chronic flooding in their streets

    • The city did promise to fix it with a $22 million project and got started with the work, but then suddenly stopped work in November

    • Queens lawmakers say the money was allocated and it's now up to the city's Department of Design and Construction to move things forward

    People living in a floodprone Queens neighborhood complain the city is dragging its feet with a fix. 

    Residents in Middle Village say it becomes a disaster zone anytime there's heavy rain. Flooding is so bad that homeowners have lost everything from cars to appliances, and even family heirlooms. 

    "It's like a third world country here," said Anthony Torre, who lives near 74th Street and Juniper Valley Park. 

    "When you get too much rain from any particular storm, you get a buildup of water and it just doesn't have anywhere to go," said Wayne Donovan. 

    The flooding problem stems from a bad sewer and drainage system that's more than 70 years old. The city promised to fix the issue with a $22 million project, but the work was dropped in November 2017 when crews discovered high levels of lead and other contaminants in the soil. 

    "They dug up all these holes, they left them open for months, and nobody did anything and then they just back filled," said Torre. 

    "They keep on promising they're going to put sewage systems in," said Donovan.

    Officials say the project needs an additional $8 million for the construction change order. Queens councilman Bob Holden says the money was allocated but it's now up to the city's Department of Design and Construction to move things forward and restart the project. 

    A spokesman for DDC told News 4 in a statement, "Construction will begin as soon as possible, we believe before the end of the year. We are trying to make it sooner." 

    But Holden said it's not good enough.

    "We wanted the project to be started right away, and now they're telling us the end of the year, maybe," he said. 

    Holden said his office is pressing the DDC to expedite the paperwork, but neighbors aren't holding their breath. 

    "When the work is being done, then I'll give you a call and say it's being done -- but I don't see it happening anytime soon," said Torre. 

    DDC said it's trying to get everything secured soon so they can submit the contract to the comptroller's office. 

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