Trucks may soon be banned from parts of the BQE
By Danielle Furfaro and Khristina Narizhnaya for the NY Post
Sections of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will eventually become so unstable that the city has to ban trucks from the highway — sending the rumbling rigs into surrounding neighborhoods — unless a reconstruction plan can be fast-tracked, transportation officials say.
City Department of Transportation officials say they are trying to avoid the gridlock nightmare by asking the state to approve a process called “design build.’’ The measure would allow both the project’s design and construction to be bid on and completed by the same contractor.
The move would cuts costs, shaving about $113 million from the project’s current $1.9 billion price tag, the DOT says.
Just as importantly, it will save time, which is crucial in this case given the age and heavy use of the BQE, the agency says.
The move requires special legislative approval because the separate bidding process had been established years ago.
If the agency doesn’t get permission, the reconstruction project could extend two years, to 2028, forcing the city to kick trucks off the highway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street and onto local roadways, according to the DOT.
“If we don’t get this completed in 2026, we’re going to have to limit the weight that the bridge can carry,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
“If this project isn’t done, we’re going to be diverting trucks.”
That move would cause massive gridlock in the neighborhoods around the highway, Trottenberg said.
Traffic would be diverted down roads such as Tillary and Adams streets and Flatbush Avenue, officials said.
The notion didn’t sit well Sunday with residents in local neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, who said the area is already too congested.
It would turn “a horrible situation into an absolute nightmare,” said Peter Bray, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.
Resident Michele Hauser said, “If I wanted to live on a truck route, I wouldn’t be living in Brooklyn Heights. It’s not fair to all the people who kill themselves to live in nice neighborhoods.’’
Trottenberg has trekked to Albany three years in a row to try to convince the Legislature to pass a bill allowing design build, but it keeps narrowly failing.
State Sen. Marty Golden said he plans to introduce a new bill as soon as possible.
Additional reporting by Emily Saul