Representatives from the NYC DOT’s Bridge Division presented the latest information on their planning for the rehabilitation of the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street at a public meeting on November 1st.
Over the summer, DOT inspected the structure, including making openings into the cantilever structure to observe portions that have not been seen since its completion 75 years ago. Tanvi Pandya, DOT’s Project Engineer, stated that the “structure is in better shape than we thought it would be.” But she was clear that the triple cantilever is nearing the end of its service life and its rehabilitation or replacement must be planned now to avoid major disruptions to vehicular travel 10-12 years from now.
The DOT has collected data on vehicular movements throughout Brooklyn, including within Brooklyn Heights, which will enable the agency to develop a traffic model that will be used during the preliminary design stage to simulate impacts from any changes to the BQE, such as lane closings, during construction.
Although preliminary design will be starting in early 2017, and will include developing alternative approaches and evaluating their environmental impacts, DOT was definite about maintaining three lanes of traffic open in each direction throughout the construction period. This necessity will likely entail building a temporary 3-lane structure alongside the existing Queens-bound level in the air rights above Furman Street. The Promenade will also undergo rehabilitation, which will likely require its closings in stages.
The actual start of construction will depend on the project management approach chosen, but in all cases, it will be no earlier than 2021. DOT also specifically noted that the repaving work completed on the BQE over the summer was greatly welcomed by nearby residents, who had been subject to noise and vibration from the deteriorated roadway, and that DOT is committed to maintaining the BQE throughout the project period.
The next public information session will occur in early 2017 when DOT has more information to share on the traffic model and on the engineering firm that will perform the preliminary design. A selection has been made but their contract has yet to be completed.