Budget slashed for reconstruction work on key highway in NYC Budget slashed for reconstruction work on key highway in NYC

Budget slashed for reconstruction work on key highway in NYC

There’s another delay in the plan to rebuild a unique section of a key New York City highway that handles about 150,000 cars per day.

Reconstruction of the cantilevered section of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Brooklyn saw a chunk of its funding pushed out further into the future in a recent budget proposal by first-year Mayor Eric Adams.

While the entire length of the BQE has numerous structural issues, it is the section with its unique cantilever structure, riding below the Brooklyn Heights promenade across the bay from lower Manhattan, that has raised the most concern regarding structural integrity.

The budget is not final. But in a document spelling out the Adams administration’s priorities, the mayor’s office said it is taking $180.5 million out of the funding for the project and shifting it “further out in the plan period.” The delay does not affect the entire funding for the project. But it would cut expenditures to $44.5 million from an earlier plan of $225.1 million.

To emphasize that the project is still expected to be pursued, but only later, the mayor’s budget statement says that total planned capital spending on the BQE project between fiscal 2022 (the current year) and fiscal 2031 remains at $1.5 billion.

The $1.5 billion plan was far from a total rebuild. When Adams’ predecessor in the mayor’s office, Bill DeBlasio, rolled out his plan last August, its first-line activities mostly involved targeting truck traffic on the cantilever by reducing the number of lanes — creating a shoulder, which previously didn’t exist — and implementing more aggressive enforcement against overweight trucks through installation of weigh-in-motion technology.

The more aggressive projects to rebuild the roughly 1.5-mile key section of the BQE cost between $5 billion and $11 billion, according to the Adams administration budget proposal. 

At a press conference Sunday, according to amNY, Adams defended the funding cuts, saying his administration is “never going to do anything that is going to jeopardize the structural safety or the soundness of the BQE.”

Adams said the decision to reduce the spending in this year’s budget was made possible in part because of unspent funds on various transportation projects from prior years. He also said he ultimately wants to craft a solution to structural and other issues on the entire stretch of the BQE through Brooklyn.

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