NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Beginning Monday, truck drivers could face hefty fins for carrying heavy loads on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order requiring increased enforcement.
Of the more than 150,000 trucks that use the BQE every day, at least 15,000 are trucks accelerating the wear and tear on the road.
“From Staten Island to get to Long Island, it’s a truck route. You can only take the BQE,” said truck driver Andreas Orellano.
Starting Monday, police are enforcing the 80,000 pound, or 40 ton, weight limit for trucks. According to police, trucks will be inspected between the Kosciuszko and Verrazzano-Narrows bridges during various times.
Drivers that are overweight will have to exit and could face up to a $7,000 fine.
“When you’re getting loaded, you don’t know how much weight you’re getting on the truck. If you’re picking up rocks and rubble, you don’t know how much weight you’re getting,” Orellano said. He’s been driving trucks for 10 years, and he says truck drivers are not to blame for hauling loads that are too heavy. “If don’t take the BQE, what are your other options? There’s no other way. You can take the streets and the streets will be even more congested.”
But something has to be done to preserve the expressway that’s showing signs of corrosion, rust and other structural issues.
“It’s probably my least favorite road in the world. I would ride on an unpaved surface. It would be more predictable,” said one driver.
Carlo Scissura leads the city’s BQE expert panel that issued recommendations to the mayor, including enforcing weight restrictions.
“Including immediate repairs and maintenance, including reducing one lane in each direction,” Scissura said.
He says there’s a sense of urgency: Doing nothing has even bigger consequences.
“We realized during this panel process the road was in even worse condition than we thought,” Scissura said.
The new policies and recommendations just buy the city time – maybe a few more years – to come up with a long-term solution, reported CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
According to the NYPD, officers NYPD issued a total of 22 violations to trucks on the BQE on Monday. Seventeen of them were weight-related infractions, and two trucks were put out of service due to weight.