According to homeowners on both the Whitestone and Malba sides of the bridge, poorly graded streets and a lack of sewers has always created a drainage problem after heavy rains on the streets adjacent to the bridge.
But they say that since a major rehabilitation project on the Whitestone Bridge was completed, water from the span drains onto the street, exacerbating the problem.
After a recent heavy rainstorm in April, the Malba side of the bridge was turned into a virtual lake.
“There has always been a lack of drainage, but never as bad as after they finished construction,” said Al Centola, president of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association.
Residents contacted State Senator Tony Avella, who in turn contacted the Bridges and Tunnels (B&T) Division of the MTA.
In response, B&T acting president Tim Mulligan wrote in a letter to Avella's office that maintenance crews were sent to the area to clear two heavily clogged city sewer drains that may have contributed to the flooding.
Mulligan also wrote that the bridge's drains were working properly, but that two areas where some seepage occurred were re-grouted.
But he also placed much of the blame on the city's Department of Environmental Protection for failing to provide adequate drainage in the area, which Mulligan described as “historically flood-prone.”
Avella's office is currently trying to set up a meeting between DEP and B&T officials to tour the site and determine which agency is responsible.
Homeowners living next to the bridge are also unhappy with the amount of landscaping that followed the completion of construction, as well as its upkeep.
In his letter, Mulligan agreed to review the landscaping and the condition of the recently planted trees and shrubs.
Centola said crews only came out to mow the grass on both sides of the bridge after residents started to call attention to the flooding issues.
“They finally cut the grass this week, but they chopped all of the plastic bottles and bags that were there, spreading the bits into the street,” he said. “They have become some of the worst neighbors in the 20 years I have lived in Whitestone.”