Brooklyn Heights

Start of noisy BQE jackhammering work delayed until mid-August

It's the third postponement

July 31, 2023 Mary Frost
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Noisy, overnight jackhammering work on the Triple Cantilever portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that was scheduled to start on July 24  — and then held up until July 31 — has been delayed yet again. 

The work is now expected to begin the week of August 14, according to NYC Department of Transportation’s Community Liaison Anita Navalurkar.

The delay of the overnight drilling at Grace Court (Span 4) and Clark Street (Span 34) has been pushed back due to “supply chain issues with the fabrication of steel plates,” Navalurkar said in an e-mail late Friday.

The purpose of the overnight jackhammering is to remove about six inches of deteriorated asphalt and concrete in order to prepare the roadbed for the installation of reinforcing steel bars and new concrete, which will take place over three weekends. The steel plates at the root of the delay will cover the excavations until the concrete can be poured.

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Work should still begin as scheduled in a third area, the foundation of the Joralemon Street Garage. This work does not require steel plates and is not expected to cause excessive noise, since it is being done inside the BQE structure.

Jackhammering work for the interim repairs will be taking place at night. Deteriorated concrete will be removed and the roadbed covered with steel plates. Graphic courtesy of NYC DOT

Construction is not an exact science

The weekend closures were originally scheduled to take place from March – October 2023. But the preparation work started later than hoped for because “it took longer to get the contractor [Bove Industries],” Tanvi Pandya, executive director of BQE, Design Build & Emergency Contracts at NYCDOT, said at a virtual workshop held June 29. 

“Everything about the nature of construction is not exact … so we will request patience if we are not able to give the exact answer right at the start,” she cautioned at that time. Because of the delays, the weekend closures will likely extend into the late fall, or possibly next spring.

The jackhammering will take place (if and when it does start in mid-August) on weeknights from 1-5 a.m. and weekends from 2-7 a.m. 

Bove will be using a sound tent to cut back on the noise. “They will work inside of it,” Pandya said. Bove will also try to reduce the noise level by using a battery pack rather than a diesel generator. Noise from the construction must remain at 85 decibels or less, as measured from a spot 50 feet away from the source of the noise.

The BQE interim work includes concrete and rebar repairs of the deck, column and beams in the Clark Street Fan Plant area, on the BQE deck at Grace Court and on the foundation of the Joralemon Street Garage. Graphic courtesy of NYC DOT

Details about weekend closures

Following the overnight drilling operation, the Queens-bound lanes of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street will be completely closed during the three weekends when concrete is poured. On the first weekend closure, all lanes will be closed on the Queens-bound side and only one lane will be open on the Staten Island-bound side. On the second and third weekends, all lanes will be closed on the Queens-bound side, while both lanes will remain open on the Staten Island-bound side.

Major traffic diversions” will be in place during the weekend closures, Pandya said. DOT is working with New Jersey Transit, MTA, the Port Authority and even Google Maps to divert traffic from the BQE during the three closure weekends. Traffic agents will be stationed around the assigned routes, at the Prospect Expressway and in lower Manhattan. Emergency services will be stationed in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“In Brooklyn Heights, we will look into where we need TAs so traffic is not diverting off the assigned routes and onto local streets,” Pandya said.

Will shore up the BQE until a long-term plan is devised

These noisy-but-necessary interim repairs are designed to shore up the 70-year-old Triple Cantilever underpinning the Promenade until the city and state settle on a full redesign — a massive, yearslong project.

The full June presentation (in both PDF and YouTube formats) explaining the details of this work is available on the NYCDOT website.

To get on NYCDOT’s Community Liaison’s notification list, contact Anita Navalurkar, at (347) 647-0876 or [email protected]

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