City officials have indefinitely delayed a program to automatically ticket overweight trucks driving on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — allowing heavy big rigs to continue weighing down a crumbling stretch of the roadway.
Department of Transportation officials last year promised the ticketing program would be up and running by the end of 2022, and said sensors to weigh trucks were already in place.
But on Wednesday, several Brooklyn lawmakers said DOT officials briefed them on problems with the technology — and gave no timeline for the launch of the ticketing program.
The federal legal limit for trucks is 80,000 pounds.
“Anything that furthers the deterioration of the roadway is of great consequence and of great concern,” New York State Assemblymember Jo Ann Simon told Gothamist. “I’m very frustrated that we weren’t told until now.”
At issue, Simon said, is how to calibrate the weight sensors to conform with national standards.
The sensors also aren’t even installed in both directions — only on the Queens-bound side of the roadway. The DOT said it plans to install the sensors on the Staten Island-bound section this spring.
Other lawmakers briefed on the delays said they felt blindsided.
City Councilmember Lincoln Restler said the change in course “undermines confidence in any and all updates we receive from DOT on the complex and critical BQE project.”
The issue is made public as the DOT prepares to make urgent repairs this spring to the badly deteriorated triple-cantilever section of the BQE, which is tucked beneath the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The agency has already reduced the number of lanes in that section from three to two in an effort to extend its life.
DOT spokesperson Vin Barone said the agency is “rigorously monitoring” the deteriorating section and “working through remaining internal and external administrative processes” to launch the ticketing program.
City officials last month unveiled a set of options to rebuild the triple-cantilevered section of the BQE, including proposals to rebuild the roadway and surround it with more greenspace.
But State Sen. Andrew Gounardes worried the road could crumble before the rebuild begins.
“It really calls into question whether the strategy of moving ahead this way is ultimately going to be the right one,” Gounardes said. “It’s something I’m very concerned about.”