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Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overhaul won’t begin until 2028: DOT

Vehicles drive along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway beneath the Brooklyn Heights promenade, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in New York.
Vehicles drive along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway beneath the Brooklyn Heights promenade, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in New York.
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A major overhaul of the city-owned portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — a 1.5 mile stretch that includes the structurally sketchy “triple-cantilever” under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade — won’t begin for another four years, Transportation Department officials said Wednesday.

Paul Ochoa, executive deputy commissioner at DOT, gave the timeline during a budget hearing before the City Council.

“There’s a lot of environmental repairs that are happening right now, [and] there’s interim repairs that are happening right now,” he said.

As for a more comprehensive redesign of the highway, “the current capital timeline of [a] calendar [year] 2028 start is what we’re operating under,” he said.

The triple-cantilever structure, in which northbound and southbound lanes are stacked on top of one another while hugging the edge of Brooklyn Heights, has long been in need of serious repair.

DOT crews have been making structural repairs to the cantilever in recent months.

In April, a portion of the road was closed for a weekend while crews reinforced steel and poured new concrete along a northbound section of the structure.

A portion of the Staten Island-bound side of the road was closed for similar repairs last October, and another round of work is scheduled for June.

DOT officials have used the need for work as an opportunity to “reimagine” the highway. Plans released last year showed the cantilever area covered over with tiered green space.

But the major redesign of the roadway, which sees some 150,000 vehicles a day, has faced multiple delays, and a request for Federal Highway Administration funding was denied earlier this year.

“The Adams administration has made clear the BQE is one of their top priorities,” City Council member Lincoln Restler (D-Brooklyn) said Wednesday. “But their budget documents show that no major work is planned until [fiscal year] 2029, at least.”

Ochoa, whom Restler questioned during Wednesday’s hearing, said the $174 million earmarked for the project in the DOT’s current capital plan is sufficient in the meantime.

“That is what we need to continue [repair and environmental work] and lead up to that start date,” Ochoa said.

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