There's a new problem for residents living near LaGuardia Airport who already are dealing with more traffic and congestion as a result of the ongoing renovation. Borough reporter Ruschell Boone explains.
Many East Elmhurst residents are demanding answers after waking up to massive construction outside their homes. They say they received no advance notification about the work which is tied to the multiibillion dollar redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport.
"This is outrageous. This is totally unacceptable," said one East Elmhurst resident.
"We are annoyed because it's coming to the holidays. You can't park. You can't do anything around here," said another.
National Grid is doing the work, installing 4,500 feet of pipe to supply natural gas to LaGuardia and sections of East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights nearby. It's part of a $3 billion upgrade of its gas mains. The work here stretches from Ditmars Boulevard and 100th Street to Astoria Boulevard and 95th Street.
"As a homeowner we were never consulted about this. We never gave permission. We don't know the safety ramifications," said one resident.
"We are homeowners here. We pay our taxes. We got no type of notification from our politicians, from anyone," said another resident.
After complaining to local leaders residents say they finally got a letter in their mailbox. It's dated October 12.
"Yesterday my sister and I called Jose Peralta's office and so magically and mysteriously this morning everybody has a notice," said one resident.
State Senator Peralta pushed to get the information, but a National Grid spokeswoman says the utility told Community Board 3 about the project in June. But the board claims it wasn't told when the project would begin. This issue is just another headache for a community already burdened by the airport's reconstruction which has brought traffic and more travelers and airport workers looking for street parking.
"Look at the situation here. I can't even get into my street in front of my house I can't even park my car," one resident pointed out.
In a statement, National Grid apologized for any inconvenience, but said the work is necessary to ensure a safe and reliable gas system.
The work is scheduled to continue through early next year.