On Tuesday night, state Transportation Department engineers officially kicked off the two-decade reconstruction project of a 1.5-mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that stretches from Sands Street to Atlantic Avenue and underneath our own Promenade.
The project will cost $295 million, with 80 percent of funding largely coming from the federal government and 20 percent from the state, said DOT spokesman Adam Levine.
Shovels won’t go into the ground until 2020 — yes, 2020, and not 2018 like engineers estimated last October — but project planning starts now, project manager Peter King told the 50 or so stakeholders who attended the meeting at Polytechnic University. Loosely quoting Churchill, he said, “We are nearing the end of the beginning.” (The timeline is available here.)
We’re getting a copy of the full Power Point presentation and will post it for you on Wednesday, but in the meantime, here are some highlights:
Update! Here’s the PowerPoint presentation: [pdf]
- The current structure is “safe,” despite having outlived its 50-year lifespan, King said, and engineers may do immediate repairs on necessary elements, even as the overall reconstruction project is underway.
- The actual work will be done in two phases. Engineers hope to have their final project design (known as the “Record of Decision”) for Tier 1 established by August 2012, and Tier 2 by mid-2015.
- As for Brooklyn Bridge Park, King said: “We’ve met with the Brooklyn Bridge Park planners and we continue to meet with them because we recognize the importance of that project to the community and to the city at large.” How the reconstruction work can coexist next to the park remains one of the project’s main challenges.
- The timeline is so extensive because of the specific and complicated nature of the project, and because it will take so many years to sort through the full environmental impact statement, interim projects, and analysis of alternative plans, King said. “Our commitment is to do this as quickly as we can, but as responsibly as we can,” he added.
- And, lastly, engineers are still sorting out the exact dimensions of the project, like if it will include the entrance/exit ramps at Columbia Street and Atlantic Avenue. Those details will be ironed out as planning gets underway.
The agency set up a project Web site, where they will post “comprehensive minutes” form each meeting and regular updates at https://www.nysdot.gov/bqedowntownbrooklyn. The next public meeting will be on June 22 at Polytech in Downtown Brooklyn.