The triple-cantilever structure that runs under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. (Photo: Pamela Wong/Bklyner)
The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) said today it will begin work this weekend along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), in an effort to extend the life of the triple-cantilever roadway that runs underneath the Brooklyn Promenade.
Crews will begin work Friday evening, but the real impact on traffic will be felt Monday, when DOT plans to reduce the number of lanes on the portion of the expressway from Atlantic Avenue to the Brooklyn Bridge from three to two in both directions.
The agency warned drivers to expect construction-induced traffic jams, and suggested they take public transit instead. Trucks and essential vehicles, meanwhile, should look to make use of the Battery Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike.
“During this necessary work on the BQE, we strongly encourage drivers to seek alternate routes and use public transportation,” DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman said in a statement. “This lane remarking may be inconvenient for some, but it is essential to making the road safer immediately and for decades to come.”
The effort will reduce weight on the roadway, the department said, promote safety by providing dedicated exit and entrance lanes, and provide a shoulder space to minimize the traffic impact from crashes.
The work is the beginning of a plan designed to preserve the aging cantilever structure for at least another two decades. The four-part plan calls for preserving the structure; executing immediate and ongoing maintenance needs; expanding efforts to monitor the condition of the span; and developing “a long-term, community-based vision” for the corridor.
Gutman and Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the plan on August 4th. It came after years of years of proposals and debates over the future of the 70-year-old highway. The BQE was designed to carry about a third of the 153,000 vehicles that now use it daily, and overweight trucks illegally using the stretch are wearing it down more quickly.
An panel convened by the mayor published a report in January 2020 warning that it would be necessary to completely eliminate truck traffic and enforce strict weight limits on vehicles if “significant repairs and replacements” to the roadway were not made by 2026.
In 2019, a DOT plan that would have temporarily run the highway through the Brooklyn Heights promenade was shelved after substantial local push-back.