The city's Department of Transportation released its draft plans for making desperately needed repairs to a 1.5 mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on Thursday, and their choices are grim: make "quick" work of the deal in just six years by diverting cars to an elevated roadway and close the Promenade, or replace the BQE lane by lane, a process that would snarl traffic for up to eight years.
The portion of the BQE that needs repairs (DOT)
The first option has the highest chances for being on-time and on-budget, in addition to being "the best experience for drivers during construction," according to the DOT's materials. It would also allow for more aesthetic and bike and pedestrian improvements to happen as well as create new direct connections to the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. "The trade-off is a temporary six-lane highway at the current Promenade level (for approx. 3 years)." The plans add that much of the Promenade will be closed during the construction.
A piecemeal approach would rely more on overnight work, and has a higher likelihood of backing up traffic, according to the DOT.
Both approaches would require lots of old trees to be removed, and for at least four and a half years, some lanes will have to be closed overnight.
I asked Trottenberg if she envisions a day without the BQE as it exists now. “I can’t picture it in the coming decades, unfortunately.” She admits it raises Qs about possible need for CP and hopes for robust discussions on that.
— Vincent Barone (@vinbarone) September 20, 2018
The portions of the BQE that need repairs were built in the 1940s and 50s, and include the infamous "triple cantilever" portions designed by Robert Moses in 1948; they were supposed to last just 50 years.
"I have done a lot of traveling. I have never seen a triple cantilever anywhere else," DOT Deputy Bridges Commissioner Robert Collyer told Gothamist in 2016. "So this is going to be a very challenging process."
The existing problems at that stretch of the BQE (DOT)
No easy choices on this one. The Promenade is part of the BQE. Same structure. And it’s all falling apart. Best case: do it on fastest timeline and make sure we’re getting something better for all the hassle.
— Wiley Norvell (@WileyNorvell) September 20, 2018
The project is slated to begin in 2020 or 2021, and the design will be settled on next year. You can read more about the project here.