By NATHAN DUKE
The state has kicked off a $78 million project to rehabilitate five bridges along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) that will complement more than $1 billion in upgrades to the I-278 corridor to make drivers’ commutes smoother.
Paul Karas, the state Department of Transportation’s acting commissioner, said that design is underway on the project—which includes a bridge over the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn and another four in Staten Island—and construction is expected to begin this fall. The project will be completed by the end of 2019.
“This project will deliver an improved riding surface and enhanced safety for the many motorists who rely on this corridor, as well as improved safety for pedestrians,” Karas said.
The project complements other recent improvements to the corridor, including $900 million invested to replace the former Kosciuszko Bridge with two new bridges to connect Queens and Brooklyn; a $2.5 million project to increase the clearances on three Queens overpasses, so that trucks can remain on the BQE without having to detour to local streets between the Long Island Expressway and the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Bridge; a $204 million project to rehabilitate a half-mile section of the Bruckner Expressway and six connecting ramps between East 141st Street and the interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway and RFK Bridge in the Bronx; two Gowanus Expressway projects totaling $246 million that wrapped up the deck and pavement replacement on the 5.3-mile elevated highway; and a $200 million project to reconfigure and reconstruct ramps on the Staten Island Expressway.
The new project will improve the 79th Street Bridge over the Gowanus Expressway and rehabilitate the bridges on the Staten Island Expressway over Mosel Avenue and the Staten Island Railway tracks.
On each bridge, the deck and substructure will be replaced. Steel will be repaired, replaced or painted where necessary. The steel railings on each bridge will be replaced with concrete parapets. Roadway lighting will be replaced and new lamp posts with energy-efficient LED lighting will be installed.