The surface connection between Queens and Brooklyn has been the scene of substantial industrial, commercial and residential development over the past 150 years, with rapid acceleration during the 20th century. The factories and offices have contributed admirably to the local and national economies, and jobs have created sustained demand for homes, schools and other residential infrastructure.
Queens and Brooklyn have always had much to do with each other, and the nature of New York's development has fuelled exponential growth in movement of people and goods between these 2 boroughs. The development of a road transport link between Queens and Brooklyn seemed in conflict with the radiating development of both boroughs, until the concept of a circumnavigating bypass was floated in the late 1930s.
The first section of the eventual Brooklyn Queens Expressway was built in 1939. The Newton Creek in this run had always needed a bridge, and a succession of structures had served the purpose since the 17th century European settlement in this area. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway stretch of 1939 included a state-of-the-art bridge crossing that was named after the military engineer of Polish descent and revolutionary war hero, Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko.
The next section of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway had to wait until after World War II. It consisted of an elevated link from the Kosciuszko Bridge to Williamsburg . It opened to traffic in 1950. This section required the destruction of a number of homes and neighborhoods: a sprinkling of Parks and open spaces were built to assuage hurt feelings of affected communities, though most of them were displaced to new locations! The extension of the Expressway continued after 1950 and was marred by an accident in 1956 in which 6 children were killed.
New technology in the business of making roads and a surging wave of growth in vehicular numbers, heaped criticism on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway almost as soon as it was completed in the early 1960s. The first wave of reconstruction had to start not long after engineers were celebrating completion of their project! This reconstruction project that started in 1966 seemed contagious, as the Brooklyn Queens Expressway seemed continuously in need of repair well in to the 1980s.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway is used in sections by about 150 thousand vehicles a day, with especially heavy use at the Brooklyn end. It has always been congested, much as its safety features have always seemed outdated. A new project, not unlike its predecessors, seeks to try and keep the Brooklyn Queens abreast of the latest inter-state technology and capable of handling ever increasing waves of traffic. The connection to the Williamsburg Bridge has already been re-laid. Entire sections are under total reconstruction.
There is a plan to broaden and in fact replace the entire Newton Creek crossing. Some experts moot the idea of building tunnels along sections. Though every effort has been made to accommodate future requirements, hardened skeptics quip that the Brooklyn Queens Expressway is destined to be perpetually a few years behind! New Yorkers love to hate the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, without which they cannot do!
Long Island Roads