The New York City Council on Monday put forth a 60-page engineering report from engineering firm Arup on a number of options for repairing or replacing the decrepit, outdated and overly crowded Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).
The Council initially favored replacing the expressway– a 1.5-mile section of the interstate between Sands Street and Atlantic Avenue that carries 153,000 vehicles and 25,000 trucks– with a either a capped highway or an underground tunnel.
The plan for “burying” the highway would involve tearing it down entirely and replacing it with a three-mile tunnel that runs underneath the two boroughs. That project would cost $11 billion, according to the report.
The other option is to replace it with a street-level roadway through parts of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill with a deck over it. This plan would cost $3.5 billion and take six years to complete.
“The tunnel bypass would cost more but would be a more transformative project, allowing for the removal of the expressway through Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill,” according to a statement from City Council. “This stretch of the BQE would no longer be needed, providing significant room for re-imagination, and could include dedicated transit and bicycle lanes, new parks, and other public facilities.”
However at the transportation oversight hearing the next day, Council Speaker Corey Johnson conceded that knocking the highway down entirely was not realistic, according to The Brooklyn Eagle.
Additionally, officials added, the concept must be widened to include not just the triple cantilever underpinning the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, but the entire expanse of the I-278 corridor.
Although revamping the BQE was not off the table, Johnson said, ultimately, the job of rebuilding the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was just too enormous and too expensive and that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were needed to work together and figure out how to accomplish one of the biggest infrastructure projects in city history.
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