Just you wait: L closure a minor nuisance compared to BQE repairs, Hizzoner says

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The worst is yet to come!

Locals dreading delays when the L train’s Brooklyn–Manhattan tunnel shutters for 15 months next April can expect an even more-hellish commute when the city kicks off its repairs to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway’s crumbling triple cantilever, according to Mayor DeBlasio.

“The L train shutdown is taking a piece of mass transit offline for a very-limited piece of its run,” Hizzoner said. “The BQE is taking a crucial highway out of the equation that also is a truck route. That is a more-complex reality.”

Work to rehabilitate the three-tiered 1.5-mile stretch of expressway from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street can now start as early as 2021 — months after full L-train service is supposed to resume — and wrap by 2026, after state lawmakers in April passed a budget authorizing use of the streamlined design-build process for the city-led job, which will allow the Department of Transportation to solicit one bid for both the design and construction phases of the project, instead of contracting separate firms for each.

Green-lighting design-build, which proponents say will also shave about $100 million from the repair’s total $1.9-billion price tag, means the repairs will likely finish before 2028 — the year local transit leaders warned they might have to force the roughly 16,000 trucks that travel the expressway daily down local streets instead so the triple cantilever doesn’t collapse beneath their weight.

And residents shouldn’t worry about the decrepit, nearly 70-year-old roadway crumbling before then — even if they’ve read reports of other bridges around the world spontaneously collapsing — because the city’s top priority is making sure its infrastructure is safe, the mayor said.

“I think the city over the decades has a very-good record of staying on top of our highways and our bridges in terms of their structural reality,” he said. “A lot of work has been done to keep it going on the way to a much bigger solution.”

Even with the sped-up process, however, rebuilding part of a major roadway that connects Brooklyn with the outer boroughs will not be without its headaches, and locals should prepare for them, according to DeBlasio, who implored the reporters in the room not to blow up the situation in the way he said they catastrophized other necessary infrastructure projects, such as dubbing the L-train closure the “L-pocalypse.”

“There’s going to be disruption anytime you have to do something big,” he said. “I know you need your clicks guys, but I just think it creates this atmosphere of alarm, and then people deal with it.”

But unlike said L-pocalypse — for which, city and state transportation officials are rolling out a plan to aid the roughly 225,000 L-train riders who cross the East River daily that includes more service on other trains, more ferries, new bike paths, and other options — there’s no backup highway for drivers to use when sections of the expressway are closed for its repair, DeBlasio said.

“We can do a lot with buses, ferries, and bikes to compensate for only 15 months,” he said. “When it comes time to fix the BQE, we don’t have perfect alternatives, and we will have to start the process of announcing what the plans look like soon.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 9:55 pm, September 20, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Thanks to decades of underinvestment by our own past and current city and state elected officials since Robert Moses, our own transportation infrastructure is deteriorating by the day.
Aug. 24, 2018, 7:55 am
ty from pps says:
make sure there's a bike lane too
Aug. 24, 2018, 9:05 am
blogger Bill from from Boerum Hill says:
Ahem. Bike lane check. Scooter lane check.
BQX fantasy trolley, wait, that's
dead. Now all we need from City DOT are the
basic hint at what their plans for the show-
stopping rebuild of the BQE might be, beyond
ground sniffing radar on the Promenade.

Hoping for the best check. Expecting the
worst check too. At least deBlaz is candid.
Hunkster is correct about visionless, timid
takes by State and City DOT on fixing what
is an engineering nightmare.

Don't blame Robert Moses! He wanted to tear
down half of the Heights. The citizenry rose
in protest; the Cantilever resulted and here
we find ourselves. Tunneling would be faster
and cheaper in the short, long term--not a
solution in 1945. Life preservers check.
Aug. 24, 2018, 10:01 am
David Weinkrantz from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Will the work on the BQE be done using one shift per day (8 hours), two shifts per day (16 hours) or three shifts per day (24 hours)?
Aug. 25, 2018, 6:44 am
NakedHikerNYC from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Of course the mayor thinks the BQE reconstruction is a bigger deal, because he's always driving (or being driver). If he took the subways, he would see it the way most of the people who live here do ...
Aug. 25, 2018, 9:47 am
Warren Wilhelm from Park Slope says:
He's a POS!!!
Aug. 25, 2018, 1:42 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just like the WNBA, the BQE isn't going away, and work on it needs to be done, plus unlike the bike lanes some of you demand for, this does get used a lot all season long.
Aug. 26, 2018, 12:59 pm
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Hey Tal, long time no see/hear. I am glad I finally tracked you down, since I wanted to join your Twin Towers Advocacy group. I still think that the original towers should be rebuilt, to show the terrorists we will not be cowardiced, and also b/c they are much better than the strucktures that replaced them. One Idea that I had was to rebuild the towers next to the defunct parachute jump at Coney Island. This way, the towers can pick up the tourist traffic, and also, be highly visible from way out across the ocean. What do you think?
PS: Also a huge WNBA fan! Since there is no team in boston, I currently follow the Connectitcut suns.
Aug. 28, 2018, 12:01 pm

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