BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – Early Saturday the New York State Senate passed a bill which includes allowing NYC to expedite the design-build phase for much-needed repair work to the BQE.
Senator Brian Kavanagh (Senate District 26—the Brooklyn Waterfront and Lower Manhattan) sent out an announcement Saturday morning stating that the bill was passed to authorize the city to “use the streamlined ‘design-build’ process on the pending Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) rehabilitation.” The decision will shorten the project’s timeline by two years, save the City approximately $100 million, and keep trucks from being rerouted onto local streets, he said.
“This is a major victory for Brooklynites, Staten Islanders, and anyone who drives on the BQE,” Kavanagh added. “It’s an example of government stepping up to protect New Yorkers, and keep our communities safe.”
NYC DOT is currently in the planning phase of a major rehabilitation project for a three-tiered 1.5 mile stretch of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street. DOT announced that if construction is not completed by 2026, approximately 16,000 trucks will have to be rerouted from the expressway onto local streets daily. If forced to conduct the bidding phase using the typical design-bid-build process, the project’s estimated completion would be in 2028—two years too long.
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The bill gives DOT permission to solicit one bid for both the design and construction phases of the project instead of soliciting two separate proposals for each part, according to Brooklyn Paper. With design-build, construction can be completed before the 2026 cutoff, protecting local roads and neighborhoods from dangerous traffic, congestion, and noise.
Kavanagh and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon have been campaigning for the design-build approval and were joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assembly Member Robert Carroll, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and other leaders at a rally in February to call on Governor Cuomo to include design-build authorization for the BQE project in his 2019 budget.
“Design-build is not a cure-all, but it is a major step forward,” Kavanagh said. “I will continue to work with my partners in government and local leaders in Brooklyn to mitigate the impacts of the BQE reconstruction and ensure the BQE repair stays on track.”