"BQE merge" by afagen is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Apr 26, 2021
New plans to save the BQE to be unveiled in May
The issues on the roadway are most dire at the tripled cantilevered section in Brooklyn Heights, which could be un-drivable by 2026
The BQE is rotting. This is itself not news. But can a plan to save it kick into gear before it crumbles?
A new set of plans for a long-needed makeover of the decaying Brooklyn-Queens Expressway are coming next month, according to announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office Friday.
“I think we’ll have some more to say on this in May,” the mayor said at his press briefing April 23. “I can say next month we’ll start to talk about those specific plans.”
More than 150,000 vehicles use the BQE daily. The tripled cantilevered section in Brooklyn Heights—capped by the beloved promenade—is in especially critical condition, and could be classifiably unsafe by as soon as 2026 according to a 2020 report from the BQE expert panel.
The structural issues on the 65-year-old BQE largely stem from the presence of illegal overweight trucks—which de Blasio tried to curb by amping up police enforcement in early 2020.
“First, of course, protecting the BQE as it is now so that we can work toward a future different vision, but first we have to make sure that it’s secure for the here and now,” de Blasio said Friday. “A lot is being worked on right now.”
The plans de Blasio teased Friday come a year after an initial proposal from 2018 to build a six-lane speedway atop the beloved promenade during repairs—which infuriated locals. The study also urged the reduction of lanes from three to two in each direction, which de Blasio rejected.
A Department of Transportation commission, headed by Hank Gutman, is at work on the remodel. Gutman took over after previous head Polly Trottenberg left and joined the Biden administration.
“Having Polly Trottenberg as the number two person at the US Department of Transportation is a great blessing for the city,” the mayor said in January.
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