NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway needs extensive renovations, but the project could disrupt a section of Brooklyn for half a dozen years or more.
Right now, you can walk along the Brooklyn Promenade. But if one of two plans to overhaul the stretch of the ageing BQE is picked, the park area would become a highway.
Whatever option is chosen, commuters can expect a traffic nightmare, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reports.
The city's Department of Transportation released its roughly $3.5 billion draft plan Thursday night for the desperately needed repairs to a 1.5 mile stretch of the BQE.
There are two options. The first is a temporary elevated roadway.
The promenade would be closed and cars would be diverted there for six years. It would become a temporary six-lane highway. That way, repairs on the permanent roadway below could take place uninterrupted.
The DOT said this is the most thorough option, but it means closing the promenade for three years.
The second option is a lane-by-lane method. This process would snarl traffic for eight years, but the promenade would be mostly unaffected. It would require overnight construction, and the DOT said it would result in fewer overall improvements.
"I think people's first reaction is going to be, 'wow, these are some big things you're looking at,' but this is an epic challenge. I like to say, unfortunately, this project - the closest analogy we can think to, and it's not perfectly like it but it's more like a Big Dig," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
"Even at 5, 6, 7-o-clock in the morning, it's starting to back up. There isn't a lot of window where you can say the peak hour is until 8-o-clock and we have time to recover," said Tanvi Pandya, of the DOT.
The DOT warns people the project will cause congestion for miles that will not only impact Brooklyn, but Queens and Staten Island.
Officials say if the BQE is not repaired by 2026, it will no longer be able to hold the weight of trucks.
You can bet there will be a lot of discussion about this. There are several public meetings coming up in the next few weeks and months.
Once a decision is made, construction would start as soon as 2020.
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