City officials insist BQE has to be rebuilt

Saturday, September 22, 2018
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NJ Burkett has more from Brooklyn Heights.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- There are few places in New York as spectacular as the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at night - with Manhattan glimmering across the East River.

What people don't see is crumbling cement and rusting steel at the base of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs beneath the Promenade. City officials insist it all has to be rebuilt.

"The city's infrastructure - a lot of it is aging," says NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Tratchtenberg.

The BQE opened in 1954 when a unique cantilever design was topped by a promenade. Nearly 70 years later, it carries more than 150,000 vehicles every day - with narrow lanes and an accident rate that is ten times the citywide average.

Engineers want to reconstruct a 1.5 mile stretch from Atlantic Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge. Demolishing the Promenade and replacing it with a temporary six-lane highway while the original BQE is rebuilt, below. The final phase? Building a wider promenade. The entire project is expected to take six years.

The only alternative is to rebuild the BQE lane by lane, which would take two years longer, cost hundreds of millions more, and detour traffic through local streets.

When it comes to fixing the BQE, there are bad options and there are worse options. There will be public hearings before the project gets underway in 2020.


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