Earlier this month, Brooklyn Community Board 2 called on the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to explain the cancellation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) reconstruction project.
The state, along with engaged community members, had begun investigating construction alternatives for an aging section of the BQE in northwest Brooklyn, but the project was called off last November due to budgetary concerns.
“The stakeholders deserve, out of respect for their two-year commitment, more closure to the project than an e-mail…stating that the project is not moving forward,” wrote Community Board 2 Chairperson John Dew in a letter to the agency. Dew’s letter also listed several unanswered questions about the expressway’s future.
Although NYSDOT concluded that the BQE does “not require major repairs at this time,” Dew worries that problems with the expressway could bring more traffic to quiet neighborhoods.
“Should some or all of the triple cantilever [a section of the BQE] need to be closed because it was found to be unsound, traffic would be diverted to local streets, not just in Community District 2 but throughout Brooklyn,” he wrote.
Officials and community activists have been apprehensive about safety and transparency since they heard of the BQE project’s cancellation.
“We assumed it was a necessity because [NYSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration] described the BQE as very deteriorated and substandard,” Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton told the New York Post. “But if all they are going to do is continue Band-Aid repair work at the city’s expense, it won’t be sufficient.”