The Government of New York State has started construction along a portion of the westbound Staten Island Expressway (I-278) in Staten Island to enhance safety and mobility.

The project will connect the entrance and exit ramps between the northbound Dr Martin Luther King Jr Expressway entrance ramp and the South Avenue exit ramp by constructing a new continuous auxiliary lane that will extend for more than half a mile.

The project is expected to be completed in the first half of next year.

Upon project completion, motorists will have a longer distance to merge on and off the expressway and congestion will be reduced on the highway and local streets.

New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo said: “As more and more people return to our roads, it is critically important that we continue upgrading infrastructure to enhance safety for motorists and reduce congestion.

“This project will deliver a better highway for motorists and improved local streets for Staten Island residents, enhancing New York’s transit network to better meet current and future demands.”

Motorists entering from northbound or southbound Dr Martin Luther King Expressway to access Richmond Avenue or South Avenue will be able to do so without merging on to the Staten Island Expressway, once the new auxiliary lane is opened.

In addition, the $3.3m project will see the installation of two new overhead sign structures, new guiderails and LED lighting.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said: “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is continuing to make important investments in our infrastructure that will create a more efficient transportation network.

“This much-needed project will help to reduce congestion along the Staten Island Expressway and adjacent local roadways, benefitting thousands of motorists who use these roads every day.”

Earlier this month, the Government of New York state has announced the completion of a $204m project that included the rehabilitation of a section of road on the Bruckner Expressway and six connecting ramps in the Bronx.

The six connecting ramps are located between East 141st Street and the interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway and the Robert F Kennedy Bridge in the Bronx region.