Change in State law to authorize “design-build” procurement process would speed up BQE rehab, keeping up to 16,000 trucks off of local roads daily and reducing headaches for all BQE drivers
(Albany, NY) -- On Tuesday, Brooklynites representing the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, the Cobble Hill Association, the Boerum Hill Association, the Park Slope Civic Council, the Gowanus community, CHIPS (Christian Help in Park Slope), and the Promenade Gardens Conservancy joined with Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon at the Capitol to urge legislators to authorize the streamlined “design-build” process for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) reconstruction.
Without state legislation authorizing design-build, the project will stretch beyond 2026 and up to 16,000 trucks will have to be redirected into Brooklyn neighborhoods each day, leading to noise, congestion, and safety concerns on local streets, along with delays for anyone who uses the BQE. In addition, design-build would save taxpayers at least $100 million on the project. For an estimated timeline, click here, and for a graphic of possible truck routes, click here.
According to news reports, Governor Andrew Cuomo supports authorizing design-build for this project. Kavanagh and Simon are leading a broad coalition of legislators and other elected officials seeking to enact this legislation as part of the state budget, due by the end of March.
For photos of the visit, click here.
“For seven decades, the BQE has connected New Yorkers in Brooklyn, on Staten Island, in Queens, and across the five boroughs. This roadway is a vital piece of our transportation network -- and we must do everything we can to soften the blow of major repairs for both Brooklyn neighborhoods and drivers,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “This project won’t be easy, but authorizing design-build is the first step to minimizing its impact. Not authorizing design-build just doesn’t make sense. We’ll do everything we can to get this done by the end of the month.”
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “Design-Build for the BQE will save time and money, which means less headaches for the community. Without design-build for this massive project, BQE repairs will last longer and trucks will be diverted onto local roads from their proper place on the BQE. Sending trucks through Downtown Brooklyn – the City’s third largest commercial district – just doesn’t make sense. Thank you to the Brooklyn Heights Association, and many concerned citizens and civic groups, for working to ensure that design-build becomes a reality for the BQE.”
"Brooklynites understand why rebuilding the crumbling BQE -- including the triple cantilever -- is necessary, and we also recognize that this large, complicated project will have inevitable negative impacts for our local communities. But we cannot understand why anyone would refuse to authorize the City to use design-build so that the project can be completed before 2026, when the DOT will be forced to divert 16,000 trucks daily onto our already congested local streets. That’s why we’ve been working with our local elected officials to raise this issue, and it’s why we’re so heartened that Governor Cuomo has come out in support of design-build for the BQE,” Peter Bray, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said. “Without design-build, the added congestion will imperil the health and safety of Brooklynites and harm every business in the state and the region that depends on the BQE for deliveries. Design-Build is the solution -- it will fast-track the project and save taxpayers $113 million. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to authorize Design-Build for the BQE project and avoid this potential catastrophe."
In January, a bipartisan group of 19 legislators from Staten Island and Brooklyn, led by Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Simon, signed a letter urging inclusion of design-build in the State budget. Last month, community members, business leaders, elected officials -- including Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams -- and City Commissioners Polly Trottenberg (DOT) and Ana Barrio (DDC) rallied in Brooklyn Heights to support including design-build authorization in the budget.