Remember how in April we were all like, “well, there’s a $20 billion proposal to put the BQE underground from Sunset Park to Greenpoint, and a $2 billion version where it goes underground from Brooklyn Heights to Fort Greene, and even though state and federal transportation officials probably won’t do either at least they’ll pony up a couple hundred million for minor fixes”? Well, now they won’t even do that; state and federal transportation officials have just rescinded $254 million in funding for crucial (though cosmetic) repairs to the 160,000-cars-per-day triple-cantilevered stretch beneath the Brooklyn Heights promenade.
This 1.5-mile stretch of the BQE, which has already outlived its intended lifespan by two decades, has long been due for a major reconstruction—as the Brooklyn Paper notes, it even “currently fails to meet federal highway standards.” Yet federal and state transportation officials saw fit to cancel even the simplest and least costly repairs to the BQE and the four-mile Gowanus Expressway just to the south.
Canceling the repair plans yesterday, federal and state transportation officials “said they would make piecemeal repairs instead.” Presumably those weren’t the same state transportation officials who, in 2009, said that, barring major repairs, the roadway would only hold together another 10 to 15 years before its condition rapidly declines.
So that’s good news for those of us who feared a Boston-style Big Dig, but terrible news for anyone who cares about quality of life, road safety and urban design.