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A $1.7 Billion Highway Project Looms in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is built atop of crumbling series of bridges. The city is expected to go in high gear on construction on Brooklyn's only interstate highway by the beginning of the next decade.
November 8, 2016, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Dana Rubinstein reports on the ongoing need to repair a 1.25-mile stretch of the BQE in Brooklyn—at a cost of $1.7 billion. According to Rubinstein, the city has many bridges that are deteriorating and in need of repair of replacing, but this particular project could be particularly inconvenient:

New York City controls 789 bridges. Twenty-one, including three that comprise the base of the promenade, make up a 1.25-mile stretch of the BQE that the city admits is deteriorating. Within the next decade or so, the degradation will necessitate repairs, rendering that heavily trafficked portion of Brooklyn’s only interstate highway a construction-laden mess and sending tens of thousands of cars and trucks into the surrounding neighborhoods.

The city is expecting to begin construction on the BQE between 2020 and 2023; meanwhile an expected 12-year window of good repair is closing quickly. A spokesperson for the department of transportation has said this project is the city's number one priority—so much so that the department is "circumventing the normal chain of command."

"While a bureau inside the bridges department runs all other big-ticket bridge jobs, this project’s managers report directly to Robert Collyer, the department's deputy commissioner for bridges," according to Rubinstein.

Rubinstein also connects the problems with the bridges on the BQE with other large infrastructure projects like the ongoing project to repair the tunnels for the L Train under the East River, the delayed project to build a new cross-Hudson tunnel, and the renovation of LaGuardia Airport. 

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