Today’s news:

State nixes BQE fixes

The Brooklyn Paper

The feds are pulling the plug on a vital, and long-promised, overhaul of a crumbling portion of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, saying that fixing the borough’s transportation artery is just too expensive.

On Tuesday, state and federal transportation officials terminated the first phase of the roughly $254-million project — effectively killing the overdue reconstruction of the 1.5-mile, triple-cantilevered stretch under Brooklyn Heights and its fabled Promenade.

Officials said they would make piecemeal repairs instead.

“They’re making a big mistake — no matter how much funding they may or may not have,” said architect Allen Swerdlow. “The process has gone on for over 20 years and it’s not seen a lot of logical conclusions. We need to make this better, safer and environmentally correct.

“You have a huge amount of truck movement on undersized lanes — there’s definitely a danger,” he added.

The state Department of Transportation has already begun initial planning of the rehabilitation of the 57-year-old highway — a dire fix that was set to begin full construction by 2020, nearly 30 years beyond the roadway’s original lifespan.

The aging triple cantilever is considered at immediate risk. The rapidly degrading roadway abuts Brooklyn Bridge Park and carries more than 160,000 vehicles a day — far more than it was originally designed to accommodate.

That portion of the roadway currently fails to meet federal highway standards.

To get it up to speed — literally and figuratively, the state had estimated at least $250 million for a simple reconstruction, but up to $20 billion for a tunnel from Sunset Park to Greenpoint. Washington would put up 80 percent of the funding — but state planners are saying there isn’t enough money for the bare-bones improvements.

“In these financially difficult times, the [Transportation Department] is making strategic choices to make the best use of our limited resources,” said Naomi Doerner of Sam Schwartz Engineering in an e-mail to transportation representatives.

The state will continue making repairs to the BQE but “in a comprehensive manner as funds become available,” said Jonathan McDade, a state administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, in his notice rescinding the repair work.

That cool confidence flies in the face of an earlier comment by a state transportation official, who said in 2009 that the roadway could last 10 to 15 years before it declines steeply. With the termination of the current repair project, any eventual construction could not be completed before that deadline.

As part of the cutbacks, the state also axed plans for a major rehabilitation of the four-mile Gowanus Expressway.

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

Updated 12:24 am, December 1, 2011: "Exclusive" tag has been removed, though, at the time we wrote and edited the story, it was indeed an exclusive, thanks to Kate Briquelet's AMAZING work. Publius, you should be thanking her instead of nit-picking her editor's decision to play this story big.
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Reader Feedback

trans alt from my bike says:
Good news. Tear it down, it's another relic of the Robert Moses era whose time has past. It's time to reclaim public spaces for public use.
Nov. 30, 2011, 6:52 am
Kayemtee from Downtown says:
We are a society in rapid economic decline that cannot repair its existing infrastructure let alone dream and build new projects. Ancient Rome, only faster.
Nov. 30, 2011, 8:50 am
Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
This is not an EXCLUSIVE. The Brooklyn Heights Blog broke this story early yesterday morning, Nov 29th.

Scooped again!!

Kindly remove your incorrect headline.
Nov. 30, 2011, 9:05 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Where did the trillion bucks in stimulus-infrastructure-shovelready funds vanish to? Ask Obama's cronies.
Nov. 30, 2011, 10:51 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If the city hadn't been spending so much money to appease bike zealouts by building bike lanes that no one uses and that are dangerous to cross then there would be money to fix the entire BQE. Some of you will yell that bikes do not run red lights, but I have seen the traffic on the BQE and no one there runs red lights since the drivers are all following the laws.
Nov. 30, 2011, 11:37 am
Lou from Park Slope says:
Besides the Brooklyn Heights Blog, the Post also had story and Brownstoner also. Some scoop.
Nov. 30, 2011, 11:53 am
Lou from Park Slope says:
The Brooklyn Eagle even had it before your paper!!!
Nov. 30, 2011, 12:02 pm
Gersh from Editor says:
As the note on the bottom of the story now says:

Updated 12:38 pm, November, 30 2011: "Exclusive" tag has been removed, though, at the time we wrote and edited the story, it was indeed an exclusive, thanks to Kate Briquelet's AMAZING work. Publius, you should be thanking her instead of nit-picking her editor's decision to play this story big.
Nov. 30, 2011, 1:35 pm
Burns from Ditmas Park says:
I don't care if it's the real Tal Barzilai or a fake one... just stop. It's getting -- no, it is tired and annoying.
Nov. 30, 2011, 2:43 pm
Publius from Bkyn Heights says:
Clearly my "nit picking" was directed at the editor who wrote the incorrect headline.

I'm not in the habit of routinely thanking people for doing their paid job, but thanks for the suggestion!
Nov. 30, 2011, 2:48 pm
adamben from bedstuy says:
really, bike lanes cost over 200 billion us? lol.

well, they need to do something, besides letting it fall. if the city can get its act together then they can build a tunnel; create a lot more jobs than that stadium. however, they will need oversight or we'll have another big dig fiasco.
Nov. 30, 2011, 3:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, cut with the impersonations. The BQE will have to be fixed sooner or later, and I doubt that it will just be ignored. Perhaps, making it part of the stimulus will help in getting it fixed. However, I would rather it would not be made into a tunnel especially after what happened shortly after the Big Dig replaced a part in Boston. The only reason why it runs under the promenade was so that it wouldn't go through the neighborhood, and Moses agreed on that compromise, so I don't want to hear that he would never listen when he did.
Nov. 30, 2011, 7:11 pm
confused from cobble hill says:
So who had the EXCLUSIVE???
Dec. 1, 2011, 12:14 am
seen it all from downtown says:
They have been fixing the BQE for the last 20 years, I think that it is some orginized crime project that just keeps makeing a lot of money for somebody ,everytime its almost done , thay they break it up again and start again ..its not my imaganation ..its true .
Dec. 1, 2011, 9:57 pm
L from Bklyn says:
"Homey", you do realize that a trillion dollars (actually 787 billion dollars) isn't even enough to keep the NY Metro transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair. Do you really think it would have had a major effect for the transportation infrastructure nationwide?
Dec. 5, 2011, 9:47 am
Hamilton from Heights says:
Publius - "I'm not in the habit of routinely thanking people for doing their paid job, but thanks for the suggestion!" - No? Then why are you always so keen on thanking the condo-proud-Park-Conservancy-paid- flaks (who screwed the public on Brooklyn Bridge Park)?
Dec. 8, 2011, 3:05 pm

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