NYC Considering Building Tunnel To Replace Crumbling Section Of BQE

Rich Lamb
February 24, 2020 - 3:42 pm

Michael Nagle/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The City Council is considering a plan to replace a deteriorating section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with a three-mile tunnel.

Engineer Sam Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, believes the proposed tunnel would not be practical.

“The question here is: how do you pay for a tunnel? In all likelihood, this is over $10 billion. It could be even more than that,” he said.

City Council is looking to tear down a portion of the elevated highway running along the Brooklyn waterfront and push it underground. They would then turn the space above ground into an urban paradise.

But, Schwartz is cautioning city lawmakers to think about the project in more than just cost.

“It could take 10 years or more. It may take five or six years to design. Meanwhile, we have a patient, the BQE triple-cantilever, that's in the intensive care unit,” Schwartz said.

He says the triple-cantilever could become unsafe within five years.

Data suggests that if nothing is done to reconstruct the highway, which was built in the 1950s by city planner Robert Moses, the city will have to issue new weight restrictions and reroute some trucks.

The council is also looking at a plan for a capped roadway under Brooklyn Bridge Park, which would allow the park to expand.