At the NYC Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Open House on June 28th, members of the Design Team that will be developing and assessing design options for the $1.9 billion BQE Rehabilitation Project met with community residents to answer questions and hear their concerns.
Over the next 18 months, the Design Team will set up a public planning process, undertake preliminary engineering, and perform an environmental impact assessment. Tanvi Pandya, DOT’s Project Manager, again emphasized the importance of being able to use a design-build approach to shorten the project’s time frame and save cost. Unfortunately, the NYS Legislature again inexplicably failed to delegate that authority to the City during the special session called by Governor Cuomo this week. The legislation will be re-introduced during the Legislature’s next regular session, but time is running short to secure an approach that would save months of construction and millions in taxpayer expense.
Ms. Pandya stated that DOT has foreclosed the option of a tunnel to replace the triple cantilever for both financial and design feasibility reasons. A tunnel would not allow the high volume of traffic currently seeking to enter Manhattan to connect to the East River Bridges. In addition, current tunneling machines can only bore tunnels wide enough for 2 traffic lanes, which would reduce the number of lanes in both directions from 3 to 2 and not accommodate current or future traffic volumes.
Interested residents can use an email address – BQEAtlantictoSands@dot.nyc.gov – for all correspondence, questions and comments to be conveyed to the BQE Design Team. Comments can also be made by calling 212-839-6304.