Big, Expensive Idea: Bury Six Miles of Expressway Under Brooklyn

The Gowanus Expressway is a big polluter and a traffic nightmare. Some see putting the road underground as a solution.
May 17, 2017, 5am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Interstate 278, shown here on the western side of Brooklyn, is the subject of an expensive and ambitious proposition.

A group of Brooklynites are trying to bring back a plan from the 1940s to bury the Gowanus Expressway, "a widely reviled stretch of the BQE that runs from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge," underground.

"Backers of the plan argue that the time is ripe to fix this notorious traffic bottleneck, reduce pollution and knit together waterfront neighborhoods isolated for decades by the aging highway," Joe Anuta reports for Crain's. They argue that emissions could be filtered through and exhaust system and that the noise of traffic could be dampened as well, "...arguing that burying the Gowanus would salvage a crucial transit corridor, open up major development opportunities and be a boon for the environment," Anuta writes.

What does this plan cost? Supporters suggest around $20 billion dollars, a price tag that may leave the plan on the back burner to other priorities until and unless there's some catastrophic failure, Anuta suggests.

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Published on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Crain's New York Business
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