Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE)

Project Updates

For traffic advisories related to the BQE project, including the lane reduction, please visit nyc.gov/bqealert. BQE Update Presentation on August 24, 2021 – presented to elected officials and civic associations (pdf) Note: NYC DOT presented a version of this at Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee meeting on September 14, 2021 at 6pm. BQE Update Presentation – presented to Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee on September 14, 2021 (pdf)

Overview

On August 4, 2021 Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman released a comprehensive plan to extend the life of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) cantilever for at least another 20 years, while reimagining the corridor for a long-term future with less reliance on large, diesel trucks.

The four-part plan focuses on preserving the structure; executing immediate and ongoing maintenance; expanding monitoring and enforcement; and developing a long-term, community-based vision for the entire corridor. Learn more about the plan below or review the mayor’s press release.

Dense vehicular and truck traffic on the triple cantilever section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn.

The BQE Plan

The mayor’s plan features four key elements:

Preserving the Structure

NYC DOT has identified new ways to provide at least two more decades of life on the BQE from Sands Street to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. These methods include:

  • Stopping water infiltration
    • Preservation methods will stop water infiltration to slow down corrosion.
    • These methods will mitigate the intrusion of water into the structure by addressing the joints, improving drainage, and reintroducing waterproofing.
    • This effort will be combined with rigorous, ongoing maintenance.
  • Shifting lane markings
    • As recommended by the BQE Expert Panel convened by the City in 2019, NYC DOT shifted lane markings on the BQE along a half-mile segment (approximately from Atlantic Avenue to the Brooklyn Bridge) from three lanes in each direction to two lanes.
    • NYC DOT replaced pavement markings of three sub-standard width lanes with two wider lanes and a shoulder, which will also allow for improved entry lanes at Atlantic Avenue.
    • This will reduce weight along a critical segment of the structure, make the roadway safer, and reduce delays caused by breakdowns and collisions.
  • Monitoring and managing traffic
    • NYC DOT will launch a comprehensive traffic management and monitoring plan, as well as a neighborhood protection plan to minimize disruption to motorists and nearby residents.
    • The City will install “weigh-in-motion” technology to automatically fine overweight trucks, which put undue strain on the structure.
    • The NYPD has already increased weight enforcement in recent months; summonses have increased up to five-fold since February.
    • Once per month, NYPD will surge enforcement even further, with extra units increasing efforts over several days at a time.

Immediate and Ongoing Maintenance

  • NYC DOT will complete its ongoing concrete and rebar repairs on the Hicks Street retaining wall this year.
  • Work on two deck spans showing faster signs of deterioration will begin next year.

Expanding Monitoring

  • The City has installed sensors along the BQE to continuously monitor the structure’s health.
  • Preliminary results will be available later this summer; full results should be available by next spring.
  • These sensors will provide a real time picture of how the structure is behaving under traffic.

Developing a Long-Term Vision

  • Throughout the summer and fall, the City will engage affected communities from Staten Island to Queens, including businesses and the freight industry, on a corridor-wide vision for the long-term future of the BQE.
  • As discussed in Delivering New York: A Smart Truck Management Plan for New York City, the City will better manage the last leg of the freight supply chain, especially during the most congested times of day, by incentivizing off-hour deliveries, freight consolidation, and cargo bike deliveries.
    • The plan also outlined ways the City will promote and incentivize the use of safer, cleaner vehicles and technology by expanding the NYC Clean Truck Program.
  • By working with freight and distribution companies, the City can make significant shifts from truck to water or rail movement of goods (up to 20 million truck miles eliminated annually) to diminish congestion and better air quality.

BQE Resources

Hicks Street Wall Repair

Hicks Street Meeting Presentation on March 16, 2021 (pdf) Hicks Street Meeting Presentation on September 24, 2020 (pdf) Hicks Street Wall One-Pager (pdf) Hicks Street Mitigation and Liaison Information (pdf)

BQE Expert Panel

Learn more about the BQE Expert Panel and review documents

Reference Materials

Review or download BQE reference materials BQE Outreach Flyer August 2021 (pdf)

Contact Us

Contact NYC DOT with questions or feedback about the BQE project, or sign up for email updates by emailing BQEProject@dot.nyc.gov.