NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is a commuter alert for drivers on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Major construction was expected to snarl traffic for Monday morning’s commute. Officials urged commuters to take public transportation if they can, CBS2’s Cory James reported Sunday night.
The days of the BQE having three lanes are ending. On Monday, drivers in both directions will start sharing two lanes. It’s a permanent change stretching all the way from Atlantic Avenue to the Brooklyn Bridge.
“It is a lot of traffic bumper to bumper,” one driver said. “I mean, going to two lanes is going to be pretty bad. That’s what I heard.”
Cutting lanes cuts down traffic, and according to city officials that can add about 20 years to the Canteliver section of the BQE, an area already crumbling and falling apart.
“Thankfully, we’re at a moment in history where we’re finally getting the support we need from Washington. The BQE matters to the whole city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Back when the city announced plans to save the corroding structure, CBS2 spoke with Rachel Weinberger, senior transportation fellow at the Regional Plan Association.
“In the 1970s, a cement truck fell through the West Side Highway,” Weinberger said.
It was a nightmare scenario that city officials do not want to see again.
So, in making the changes on the BQE, removing oversized vehicles is also on the list.
The Department of Transportation stated that includes installing “weigh-in-motion” technology to automatically fine overweight trucks, along with the NYPD increasing weight enforcement.
“A semi is worth something like 10,000 car equivalents, so if they can reduce the truck traffic that is improper, that will buy them a number of years,” Weinberger said.
Weinberger said eliminating 25% of the traffic would eliminate any need for additional lanes.
City officials said people who take the BQE should consider taking public transit or the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on August 29, 2021.