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Mayor Adams, DOT Commissioner Rodriguez Launch Nation's First Automated Enforcement Against Overweight Trucks on BQE, Critical Measure to Protect Aging Roadway

August 7, 2023

Builds on Adams Administration’s Ongoing Effort to Deliver Long-Term Fix for City-Owned Portions of BQE

90-Day Warning Period Will Begin August 10, Violations to Be Issued Starting November 8

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced that the city will begin its first-in-the-nation automated enforcement program targeting overweight trucks on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) this month. As the BQE faces well documented structural challenges, this cutting-edge new tool will help the city protect the existing roadway for all users, including trucks within the legal limit, as well as community members — helping to keep the roadway safe as the Adams administration pursues an accelerated effort to re-envision and redesign the BQE.

Under the new automated enforcement program, advanced “weigh-in-motion” (WIM) sensors will determine the weight of a given vehicle on the city-owned portions of the BQE and sync with license plate cameras to issue citations to those found to be in violation of weight limits outlined in state and federal law. The new program will kick off for Queens-bound traffic with a 90-day warning period beginning on August 10, 2023, and then, beginning November 8, 2023, overweight trucks will be subject to a $650 fine per violation. Infrastructure will be installed for Staten-Island bound traffic this year, with the same 90-day warning period taking place before violations are issued. The new program also expands the city’s efforts to enforce state laws designed to protect the lifespan of roads and bridges, and it builds on ongoing targeted enforcement efforts by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as well as DOT’s track record of administering successful automated traffic enforcement programs. Additional information about truck weight limits and the weigh-in-motion program is available online.

“New York City is leading the country in protecting and reimagining our critical infrastructure, and this first-in-the-nation weigh-in-motion program will be a critical tool not only to protect the roadway but also to support our aggressive efforts to re-envision a safer and greener BQE,” said Mayor Adams. “The BQE is a critical driver of our entire region’s economy, and we will enforce the law to keep our city’s recovery moving full speed ahead. I want to thank Governor Hochul, Senator Gounardes, and Assemblymember Simon for their partnership on this legislation.”

“Managing overweight trucks is critical to improving safety on our streets and prolonging the lifespan of the BQE ahead of our redesign,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “I want to share my deep gratitude to Governor Hochul, Senator Gounardes, Assemblymember Simon, and Councilmember Restler for their tireless advocacy, which ultimately moved this legislation forward. With this win on WIM, New York City will be leading the nation on automated overweight truck enforcement.”
“Overweight trucks cause wear and tear that requires costly maintenance and reduces the lifespan of our roads and bridges. We need to keep overweight trucks off our streets, and New York City is leading on this with the first-in-the-nation automated weigh-in-motion enforcement system to issue violations to those who break the law,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “I thank Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Gounardes, and Assemblymember Simon for passing and enacting the legislation, and Councilmember Restler for securing the necessary approval from the City Council, allowing New York City to leverage this critical tool to preserve the lifespan of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.”
The new automated enforcement program on the BQE was authorized by the enactment of S6246/A6225, sponsored by New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes and New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, and signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul on July 28, 2023. The law and the enforcement program only apply to the City of New York-owned span of the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street.

DOT is partnering with the trucking industry to educate truck operators about the new automated weight limit enforcement, with the goal of preventing overweight vehicles from ending up on the city’s roadways in the first place. DOT is also working with the NYPD and other partners to identify and target enforcement along alternative corridors that overweight trucks may try to use as an alternative.

C2SMART has worked closely with DOT to install and monitor weigh-in-motion sensors along the city-owned section of the BQE. DOT’s analysis has identified nearly 10 percent of all trucks on the BQE as overweight — significantly exacerbating the impact from that damage to the triple cantilever structure.

DOT is working with communities along the BQE corridor on two initiatives. BQE Central will fix the city-owned structure from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, and BQE North and South will identify upgrades for all other segments of the BQE corridor in Brooklyn. With federal funds newly available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Adams administration is pursuing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade the BQE for the 21st century.

Throughout this process, DOT will continue with interim repairs to the Atlantic-to-Sands section to ensure it remains safe. Safety monitoring of this section of the highway, including the triple cantilever, will continue through a combination of regular in-person inspections and sensors placed on the structure.

“The BQE is a Robert Moses-era relic in need of forward-thinking 21st-century solutions. As we work to reimagine the BQE, we must protect the existing highway from further deterioration and hazards,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. “This new, first-in-the-nation automated enforcement of truck weight limits will hold overweight trucks accountable and protect our communities and infrastructure. I’d like to thank Assemblymember Simon and Senator Gounardes for their innovative legislation that makes the ‘weigh-in-motion’ sensor enforcement possible and the New York City Department of Transportation for moving quickly to implement this new system for the benefit of everyone along the BQE corridor.”

“I’m thankful for the leadership of Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon in securing the passage of their bill to put in place a WIM system that will hold truck drivers accountable,” said U.S. Representative Dan Goldman. “The future of the already-vulnerable BQE is in jeopardy, and this system will be able to help enforce against drivers that are adding to the stress on this dilapidated infrastructure. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law.”

“As a community, we are working hard to revitalize and revision the BQE — but as we progress toward that goal, we must ensure the triple cantilever is safe for New Yorkers to use,” said Senator Gounardes. “I’m proud that my first-in-the-nation program to safeguard the BQE’s infrastructure has been signed into law, and I thank my partners in government and our community for their work and support in getting this done.”

“Illegally overweight trucks have caused significant damage to the BQE triple cantilever and to our environment,” said Assemblymember Simon. “That’s why I’m thrilled that New York is leading the way with our first-in-the-nation WIM program to get rid of these overweight trucks and extend the useful life of the BQE, while reducing carbon emissions. Thanks to Commissioner Rodriguez for his support, to Governor Hochul for signing my bill into law, to Senator Gounardes for championing this bill in the Senate, and to the BQE expert panel who first recommended we consider this technology.”

“We must do everything we can to keep the BQE triple cantilever functional and safe, including the removal of illegal, overweight trucks,” said New York City Councilmember Lincoln Restler. “I proudly spearheaded approval of the home rule message through the City Council. And with the governor signing this legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Senator Andrew Gounardes, I look forward to the New York City Department of Transportation swiftly implementing automated enforcement against dangerous trucks in both directions of the BQE.”

“We applaud the governor and Legislature for taking this important step to ensure the integrity of the BQE in the near term,” said Kaan Ozbay, director, C2SMART and professor of civil and urban engineering at NYU Tandon. “Our research shows WIM sensors effectively and accurately identify trucks that exceed BQE’s state and federal truck weight limits. We know that getting those vehicles off the cantilever will contribute directly to that section remaining safe for as long as possible.”


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