Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman released a plan on Wednesday that would extend the life of the 70-year-old Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for another 20 years.
The plan would restructure the travel corridor to rely less on heavy, diesel-spewing trucks.
“We have the technology, the ideas, and the expertise to save the BQE, and we’re excited to execute this plan. But that’s just the start,” said de Blasio in a statement. “New York City can do more than patch up a highway in need of repair – we can use this opportunity to rethink how people, goods, and services move around our city.”
The city has installed sensors along the BQE to monitor the structure’s stability amidst traffic and will publish preliminary results later this summer. The full results are expected to be available by the spring of 2022.
The first portion of the plan would preserve the structure of the expressway for another 20 years firstly by slowing corrosion. The corrosion would be eased by stopping water infiltration, improving drainage, reintroducing waterproofing, and conducting frequent maintenance when needed.
The other method of preserving the structure would entail shifting lane markings on the BQE from approximately Atlantic Ave to the Brooklyn Bridge from three lanes in each direction to two wider lanes and a shoulder. This is intended to reduce weight along a critical segment of the structure, to prevent breakdowns and collisions.
The second section of the plan focuses on enacting a comprehensive traffic management and monitoring system. The DOT would install “weigh-in-motion” technology to automatically fine overweight trucks, and the NYPD would increase weight enforcement.
The DOT would complete its ongoing concrete and rebar repairs along the Hicks Street barrier and move on to other sections that is undergoing concrete deterioration.
“This plan is designed to address current safety and structural concerns about the 70-year old roadway, while reimagining not only its future purpose, but how freight is moved in this city in the 21st century,” said Gutman.