2020: shovel ready

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Rip Van Winkle can wake up and go back to sleep before infrastructure work on the triple cantilever section of the Brooklyn−Queens Expressway in Downtown Brooklyn begins.

But that won’t stop the process from playing out in preparation for the reconstruction work spanning about 1.5 miles between Atlantic Avenue and Sands⁄Nassau streets.

Peter King, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) regional planning and program manager of the project, told about 40 residents at NYU−Polytechnic Institute last week that the project won’t kick off until 2020.

“We’re getting at the end of the beginning,” he said, referencing the words of Winston Churchill.

The main of the cantilever includes the Brooklyn Promenade on the top tier, the eastbound BQE on the middle level and the westbound BQE on the lower level.

Below these three tiers is Furman Street, the gateway to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

King said that the cantilever project involves a number of engineering complexities. It will include 21 bridges⁄­overpasses and 300,000 square feet of decking.

It also includes reconfigurations on narrow “choke points,” ramps to and from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, subway coordination and adjacent large buildings, he said.

Since the BQE is actually an interstate highway, the only one in Brooklyn, the federal government will pay 80 percent of the reconstruction with the state picking up the other 20 percent.

In the meantime, the DOT is establishing a Stakeholders Advisory Committee (SAC) to play an central role in advising the DOT and the project team.

Included in the team will be the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

This announcement led Sandy Balboza, who heads the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, to question why more civic organizations weren’t being asked to be part of the SAC.

King replied that while SAC meetings will not be public, members of the public wishing to attend will not be turned away.

They will also be allowed to make short statements and ask questions, according to the SAC charter distributed at the meeting.

Kings said the reality is too many groups in the SAC makes the project all the more difficult to move forward.

Updated 3:34 pm, October 19, 2011
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