Update on BQE Meeting: Agenda Now Available

We reported last week that a meeting on the reconstruction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be held one week from today, Wednesday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Francis College. We have now received the agenda for the meeting, which follows the jump.

8TH Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting
Location – St. Francis College, Room 3221
Date – March 30, 2011
Time – 6:30 pm


1. Introductions/Project Update Since 7th SAC Meeting

2. Review of Alternatives

3. Alternatives Evaluation

4. Fiscal Constraints/Projected Level of Funding for Overall Program

5. Future Actions / Activities

If you wish to attend, and haven’t already done so, please RSVP to Michael Porto (mporto@samschwartz.com).

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  • epc

    I plan to attend.

    Have there been any updated reconstruction documents distributed? The only one I have is ancient (from 2006).

  • Ernie

    Wonder if they will make repairs to the BQE to, for example, get rid of the bumps created by earlier work to end all the bouncing trucks starting at Atlantic Avenue going toward the Brooklyn Bridge while we are waiting for the reconstruction?

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    These may be good questions to address to Mr. Porto.

  • Reggie
  • stuart little

    I sense the DOT engineers never learned this in school and
    are terrified of the dreaded cantilever. I believe they have no
    idea how to begin grappling with such an eccentric design. It is
    not like any standard Federal highway layout, so they are clueless.
    “You mean we can’t just blow up rocks and houses and make a
    straight line? Duh…..then what can be done?

  • http://Building Jeffrey J Smith

    Lets hope they build ABOVE the water table this time…..

  • Reggie

    stuart, your impression is incorrect. There has a great deal of creative thinking about a wide range of alternatives, including reconstruction of the triple-cantilever.

  • epc

    I went to the meeting tonight, my only real takeaway is that we need a better way of funding infrastructure in the US, or in NY/NYC in particular. NY State just doesn’t get enough Federal funds to do much other than the minimum rebuild of the BQE, which won’t address any of the major highway issues (clearance, lane width, short merge ramps). The most logical solution seems to be one of the tunnelling options, but those start at $4 billion (pair of tunnels under Hicks&Henry) and go up to nearly $20bn (river bed tunnel bypassing much of downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill and Gowanus).

    As I understand it, tolling the BQE, even just any new construction resulting from a tunnel, is prohibited either by state law or by the federal highway acts, which pretty much boxes us in unless several billion falls from the sky (and personally, I’d rather that money be invested in mass transit infrastructure if it DID fall from the sky).

    I think it’s unrealistic to think a Republican dominated Congress, already hostile to any urban issues at all, is going to do anything particularly special to fix the BQE even if ignoring it screws up cartage and commuter traffic in the northeast for decades. Much better to build a billion dollar interstate in the middle of nowhere. The cost overruns with the big dig in Boston only add to the difficulty of getting anything beyond rebuilding the cantilever approved.

    As far as the actual presentation went, they’ve eliminated two of the potential alternatives which would have involved taking much of DUMBO and portions of Brooklyn Heights around Squibb Hill. The alternatives still on the table include:
    – rebuild existing roadway & cantilever, making almost no changes to clearance or lane widths
    – a number of tunnel options: under the Heights (a couple of variants), under 4th Avenue, and a couple of options which run under the river (either cutting through DUMBO, right through teh Dock Street development if I understand the map correctly, then under the park; alternately going under the river much farther north and returning inland around 65th St).

    I haven’t been attending the meetings so I kept my questions to one: whether or not the various alternatives which rely on the existing BQE to serve as a collector road include renovation and the cost of renovation of the existing cantilever in the separate estimates, the answer was that they did (so the approximate $4bn for one of the tunnels included $250MM for renovating the cantilever).

    The next meeting is expected to be in May. They will return with an analysis of the various options using funding and likelihood of funding as the criteria for making a determination.

    Until we find a better way of funding infrastructure, though, I don’t see this progressing much beyond replacing the cantilever. Perhaps if the Democrats retake the House in 2012 there’s a chance, but the window of opportunity is rapidly diminishing as the engineers feel that the work needs to be actively underway in the 2018-2020 timeframe.