DOT’s BQE Fix Would Build Overpass Above Brooklyn Bridge Say Activists

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – Following a rally earlier this month on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade where hundreds called on the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider other ways to fix the triple-cantilever portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), a local activist group has released renderings showing another potential impact of the agency’s plans.

A Better Way NYC, who along with the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) organized the January 12th rally, has created computer-generated renderings that show a hulking roadway that would temporarily span over and across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, obstructing views of Lower Manhattan, the New York Post reported.

Hilary Jager, a spokesperson for A Better Way NYC, told the newspaper that the renderings are intended to show that DOT needs to reconsider its plans. “The city’s ill-conceived closed-door plan won’t just dump pollution onto the doorsteps of thousands of families, it’ll desecrate two New York City icons,” Jager told the Post.

Rendering by Tangram 3DS, courtesy of A Better Way NYC

Last September DOT proposed two plans to repair the 1.5-mile span of the roadway on which more than 150,000 cars and trucks travel daily. The first “traditional” proposal would have crews working incrementally, lane by lane, and would take about eight years to complete and cost $3.4 to $4 billion.

DOT’s faster $3.6 billion “innovative” proposal would demolish the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and build a temporary six-lane elevated highway in its place for approximately six years. This second plan would impact the surrounding neighborhood by taking away a popular outdoor public space, potentially displacing some residents, and bring noise and air pollution as well as thousands of cars and trucks into the area.


BHA worked with Brooklyn Heights resident and urban planner Marc Wouters in developing its own solution for the BQE repairs and presented it to DOT officials last November. That plan would re-route BQE traffic west to a temporary two-level structure built on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s sound attenuating berms, leaving the beloved Promenade intact.

BHA presented the alternative plan to “expand public discussion and challenge city officials to think more creatively about repairing a six-lane highway,” according to the New York Times. The estimated cost for the alternate plan has not been determined yet, but it is expected it to be less than DOT’s plans.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg confirmed that the agency was reviewing BHA’s proposal and continuing to “explore other options,” the Times reported. Trottenberg added that DOT “expects to end up with four to six options, which will be weighed in public discussions as part of a thorough review process that will last about two years.”

“A better way means a BQE plan that envisions a transportation solution for the next century, not a Robert Moses plan designed for the last one,” said Jager.

share this story

Pamela Wong

Pam was a staff reporter at Bklyner, covering North-Western parts of Brooklyn between 2016 and 2019. She also writes about art at


  1. This is not a question of a community rightfully defending itself against some greedy private developer or rampant gentrification. This is essentially a row of multi-million dollar homes adjoining the Brooklyn Heights promenade which are trying to stop the City from making much needed emergency repairs and reconstruction to an extremely vital traffic link. Or would they want the City to turn into a sedate bikes-only lane? Get real. The roadway is there. Robert Moses has already done his dstadly deeds and sliced through neighborhoods both rich and poor. The road It’s not going to be shut down or moved. These protests are only delaying a project -a delay which may risk people’s lives as they drive through this crumbling area of infrastructure.

  2. A little inconvenience won’t hurt them. What do they want, a tunnel? Or, why not give cars flotation devices so they can paddle their way along the waterfront. Perhaps they wouldn’t bitch and moan so much if they had chunks of cement hitting their cars as they passed underneath the crumbling roadway. Come on, BHA; wake up and stop crying. This is New York. It’s old and falling apart. The city neglects everything until it’s too late. Just look at how many years it took them to fix the Gowanus Expressway. What was it, 15 years?

  3. The lane by lane plan is the best plan. Either way it’s going to take a decade. Traffic is slow as it is. Drivers will adjust.

  4. It’s not a question of a little inconvenience. It’s a potentially serious source of toxic pollution having a six-lane highway running beneath people’s homes. And it would bring noise, vibrations and potential destruction of homes in one of NYC’s most historic neighborhoods.

    And yes, a tunnel would be a 21st century solution, rather than a Moses-era one. If Seattle can replace a waterfront highway with a tunnel, so can NYC.

    (Apologies for any duplication – My last comment didn’t seem to post here)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *