The bridge, built in the 1920s, is owned by the MTA and has seen little upkeep over the years. The crumbling structure has led to a number of issues for businesses along the bridge, including water leaks, burst pipes, disintegrated floors and roof problems.
In May 2017, MTA representatives met with shop owners and announced the possibility of demolishing the bridge and building a high-rise building in place of the dozen businesses.
An MTA spokesman confirmed that there will soon be a decision on the bridge and whether it would be repaired, demolished, or if further study is necessary.
The newly appointed president of the LIRR, Phillip Eng, will make the announcement regarding the bridge’s future at a Queens Borough Hall meeting on Wednesday, July 11.
“We understand the significance that the Kew Gardens Community places on the storefronts situated atop the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge and are committed to investigation options that address the concerns of all parties,” Eng said in a statement.
Community outcry and pressure from elected officials followed after last year’s meeting between the MTA and local businesses.
Recently, the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge Study Bill introduced by State Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal passed in the state legislature.
“This bridge and the businesses that operate on it are, in many ways, the heart of Kew Gardens,” Comrie said.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz recently secured $1 million in funding to support the bills the state legislature passed in June to repair and restore the bridge, according to the Save Kew Gardens Coalition. The funding covers a feasibility study for a complete repair and restoration of the bridge.
Both the Save Kew Gardens Coalition and the Kew Gardens Civic Association are urging community members to contact Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to demand a full repair and restoration of the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge.
More than 5,120 people signed an online petition seeking to save the bridge from destruction.
“Elements that add to the character and uniqueness of neighborhoods should be treasured, not demolished for financial gains,” said Bernard Bosio. “We need to preserve unique parts of the city like this, not destroy them.”