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Debris Falling From Van Wyck Overpass Is Creating Danger, Queens Residents Say

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some Queens residents said a popular parking lot is turning into a danger zone, and they blamed falling debris.

As CBS2's Elise Finch reported, the parking lot sits under the busy Van Wyck Expressway, and near a popular recreation center.

People who frequent the area said they want to see long overdue repairs finally happen.

An enormous slab of concrete and metal has been all anybody visiting the Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center could talk a about lately. It looks as though it fell from the underside of the Van Wyck Expressway into the parking lot -- just steps from the swim center's entrance.

"This has become dangerous," said Loida Papandrea of Little Neck, Queens. "You can see. You can see all the breakage. This is not the first time cement has fallen down if you just look at all the cracks."

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, NYC Parks Advocates President Geoffrey Croft got multiple calls from people who work and play in the area. They said a huge chunk of debris fell 30 feet, narrowly missing several cars.

The slab measures 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet, and likely weighs more than 200 pounds.

Twenty-four hours later, it was still there.

"These are the columns that are holding up the Van Wyck, so it's not just the parking lot. And the state DOT needs to come in and do their job," Croft said. "Clearly, this is not a new issue. What's surprising is that someone hasn't been seriously injured or killed."

Some people told CBS2 the support structures for the expressway look so unsafe that the the New York State Department of Transportation will have to do more than just investigate.

"It has to be rerun and fixed as soon as possible, because someone is going to get hurt," said Shmuel Or of Flushing.

"This has to be addressed. It has to be fixed," added Papandrea.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a state DOT engineer said the debris that was seen in the parking lot is not actually from the Van Wyck overpass at all, and appears to have been dumped there. But people in the area were skeptical of the conclusion, saying falling debris is a huge problem in the location.

An employee who declined to speak on camera said cars parked in the lot are frequently damaged by debris falling from the Van Wyck. She said she hopes this situation will finally garner the attention and repairs needed.

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