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City Scraps BQE Construction Plans As Packed Town Hall Debates Future Of Aging Expressway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There's been months of debate over how to best fix the BQE which is still in need of major repairs.

On Wednesday, two unpopular plans were halted while a new study got underway.

Hundreds of Brooklyn residents packed into a town hall meeting at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights to hear new proposals on how to repair the 1.5-mile stretch of the expressway.

(Credit: CBS2)

"Our building is one of the closest five buildings to the BQE, so regardless of which result ends up emerging we will be impaired," Elizabeth Davis said.

The two original pitches put forward by the Department of Transportation last year were very unpopular in the community and with a number of elected officials.

Residents complained one plan would create major traffic jams and the other would close the Brooklyn promenade for years during the construction.

For months local leaders and officials have been pushing the city to look at other options. Finally, Mayor de Blasio announced an expert panel would work to find a better way.

"We are hitting the restart button on the process to come up with a plan… it's going to work," city council speaker Corey Johnson said.

Several new alternative solutions were presented, but so far community leaders say the most popular design is to save the Brooklyn Heights promenade by building the BQE underneath it – a plan dubbed the Brooklyn-Queens Park.

Over the next few months, the mayor's panel will research the best path forward and put out a report with their recommendations. The public will get to have their say as well.

"I'm directly impacted because my building is at the foot of Clark Street on the promenade. I'm very hopeful after hearing this," resident Mike Lipkin said.

There's no official timeline on when a new plan will be chosen or when construction will actually start.

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