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Construction on Brooklyn-Queens streetcar could interfere with BQE repairs

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The two multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects run the risk of overlapping in the same neighborhoods

While the Brooklyn Queens Connector has gotten off to a shaky start— funding sources remain up in the air and how the city will acquire all the land necessary to construct it remains to be seen— the ambitious proposal is far from dead. But if construction does ever kick off on the BQX, there is another problem on the horizon: the project will overlap with another major infrastructure project within the same vicinity.

The city’s Department of Transportation must carry out rehabilitation work on a 1.5-mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street. The $1.9 billion repair project is looking to start around 2021 and will improve the flow of traffic, stabilize the expressway, and increase access to the waterfront. Construction could take anywhere from five to seven years.

As for the BQX, the de Blasio administration is optimistic that construction on the light-rail line will begin in 2019 and wrap up by 2024. The problem is, both projects would end up needing to work in the same area along Atlantic Avenue at the same time, which one can only imagine would cause nothing short of a nightmare for traffic along local thoroughfares, reports TimesLedger.

“I had a conversation with somebody who was working on the BQX,” said Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Bob Collyer during a December 11 public meeting. “They are thinking about it going down Atlantic Avenue and across Columbia Street, and I said ‘Look we’re going to be there, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

The overlap of the two large-scale projects may only be a problem if the state assembly agrees to a plan that would fast-track repairs on the BQE. Doing so would allow for construction to begin in 2021 and end by 2026. If the plan isn’t approved, work will begin in 2024 and wrap up after 2028.

A project manager for the BQE revamp told the TimesLedger that the team is working with officials in charge of the BQX’s creation to ensure that the two projects can be built simultaneously, without interfering with one another.