City to partially close Brooklyn-Queens Expressway triple cantilever for repairs next month

cars and trucks on brooklyn-queens expressway
The infamous triple cantilever portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be partially closed for repairs for a few days next month.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The New York City Department of Transportation announced Monday it will close parts of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for a few days so it can make some much-needed repairs next month. 

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said the closures will take effect from Oct. 14 at 2 a.m. to Oct. 16 at 4 a.m. The Queens-bound section of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Stands Street will be fully closed during that time, and traffic on the Staten Island-bound BQE will be reduced to one lane between Sands Street and Atlantic Avenue.

The department will initiate a public notification campaign, to inform locals of the closures and subsequent detours ahead of time so that the communities affected can plan their travel and commutes accordingly.

brooklyn-queens expressway
The department will be reinforcing fragile portions of the cantilever near Grace Court.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“We are making critical repairs to the BQE to preserve its lifespan while at the same time trying to minimize impact on the local community,” said Rodriguez in a statement on Monday. “We will keep the public closely updated on our progress as we plan ahead for this work on a holiday weekend.”

The department will add additional concrete and reinforcing steel bars to stretches of the crumbling cantilever near Clark Street and Grace Court to help ensure the structural longevity of the roadway. 

Several Queens-bound and Staten Island-bound on-ramps will also be closed.

For Queens-bound BQE travel, entrances ramps will be closed at 3rd Avenue, 6th Avenue, Prospect Expressway, Hamilton Avenue, and. Atlantic Avenue. Exit ramps will be shuttered at  Cadman Plaza, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. 

Staten-Island bound, the entrance ramps at Flushing Avenue, Sands Street, and Vine Street will be closed. Traffic will be redirected onto local streets for the duration of the closure. Bus stops for the B67 and B79 at Pearl and Sand streets will also be closed. 

brooklyn-queens expressway detours
Traffic will be redirected onto local streets for the duration of the closure.Image courtesy of NYC DOT

The city strongly encouraged travelers to avoid the BQE during the scheduled construction period. Additional information about the closures and planned detours is available online

The triple-stacked roadway has long been in need of an overhaul — in 2020, an expert panel warned that the roadway might become unsafe for large trucks by 2026 if no action was taken. While the city is planning a large-scale “reimagining” of the cantilever, the project’s timeline has been delayed several times.

In June, after the start of construction was pushed back by at least a few months, DOT representatives assured New Yorkers that the roadway was safe — and that the department would be starting some short-term repairs on the “most damaged” sections of the roadway in the interim. 

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the closure would occur on Columbus Day weekend instead of the weekend of Oct. 14. Last updated 9/18/2023