New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced that the city will begin what they call a first-in-the-nation automated enforcement program targeting overweight trucks on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) this month.
The BQE faces well documented structural challenges, Adams and Rodriguez noted in a press release. The 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.
New Weigh-in-Motion Technology
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 Aug. 10, and then, starting Nov. 8, 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 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 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.”
“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,” added Rodriguez.
Educating Truck Operators
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. 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.
Connected Cities with Smart Transportation (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% of all trucks on the BQE as overweight — significantly exacerbating the impact from that damage to the triple cantilever structure.
DOT is also 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 an 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.