The roadway that snakes its way between Brooklyn and Queens is one of New York City’s busiest and is notorious for its congestion and high accident rates. The most recent in a series of BQE rehabilitation projects, completed in December 2008, reconstructed the dilapidated, serpentine, section of the highway between 61st St. and Broadway in Queens at a cost of $129 million.

Brooklyn Queens Expressway Reconstruction of 61st Street to Broadway-Woodside, N.Y.

Improvements included resurfacing/replacing pavement, realigning the roadway, widening lanes, creating breakdown shoulders and constructing a highway exchange at Broadway. Twelve bridges were rehabilitated including replacement of the superstructures on six of the spans.

A major challenge on the project was the lack of available space around the BQE as crews struggled to maintain traffic flow. A major snag occurred when an 8,000-gallon gasoline tanker overturned and caught fire beneath the temporary bridge. The fire’s intense heat melted the roadway and heavily damaged the temporary bridge. Crews worked around the clock to repair the damage and get the project back on track.

“The entire team worked together to address the issues that arose,” says Dhiaa Shubber, project manager, PB Americas, New York..

The project also included the reconstruction of the Broadway interchange, as well as the complicated realignments of both the CSX rail line and the roadway beneath the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge – which required the reconstruction of the both the bridge and the structure supporting the #7 subway tracks above it. The subway structure was originally supported by columns with foundation originated at the bridge deck. The new configuration called for transferring the supports from the deck to ground below.

The subway structure was modified to accept the new supports by introducing three major girders, 84-inches by 80-feet-long, connected to new columns encased in concrete. The columns, with splices in between, were framed into the structure using cross braces.

Key Players

Owner: New York State Department of Transportation
Construction Manager: PB Americas, Inc., New York
General Contractor: Tutor-Perrini, Inc., Peekskill, N.Y.
Architect and Structural Engineer: Stantec, New York
Underpinning: Skanska, New York
Noise Walls & Barriers: Jersey Precast, New Brunswick, N.J.
Steel Supplier: High Steel, Lancaster, Penn.
Concrete Supplier: Best Concrete, Flushing, N.Y.
Inspections and Surveying: Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects, P.C., Camp Hill, Penn., Afridi Associates Consulting Engineers, New York, and KS Engineers, P.C., New York
Landscape Architect: Abel Bainnson Butz LLP, New York
Community Liason: Zetlin Strategic Communications, Inc., New York