Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) is an expressway which runs from southern Brooklyn, New York to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens, New York. It is a portion of Interstate 278.

Route Description

The expressway is mainly elevated in Brooklyn, with some open-cut sections. In Queens, the expressway is a mix of elevated, open-cut and at-grade sections. The BQE was built from the 1950s, and was completed in 1964 as a crowning achievement of Robert Moses, who still sparks debate today, being blamed for the deindustrialization of Red Hook. The part that passes over the Gowanus Canal leading to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, as well as its southern extension to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, is known as the Gowanus Expressway.

A section along the harbor in downtown Brooklyn is partially covered to create the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

North of downtown Brooklyn, it passes through the Williamsburg neighborhood, then crosses Newtown Creek to Queens on the Kosciuszko Bridge. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the BQE carries 160,000 vehicles per day through Brooklyn and 120,000 through Queens.


In 1940, engineering mogul Robert Moses proposed an expressway between Queens and Brooklyn to relieve local streets of congestion from the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. A section between the Williamsburg and Kosciuszko bridges opened in 1950; the road in its entirety was completed in 1960. In 1958, existing segments of the expressway were eligible for interstate highway funding. For a short time, the segment of highway between the Triboro Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge was to be designated Interstate 87 and continue north as the Major Deegan Expressway. By 1959, the I-278 designation was given to the entire length of the highway. Since the roadway was constructed prior to modern expressway standards, the BQE has considerably narrow lanes, sharp curves, and no shoulder and most of the route has a 45 mile per hour speed limit.

Motorists may encounter difficulty finding an entrance onto the BQE from Brooklyn side streets, as illustrated in the 1990 movie, "Quick Change", starring Bill Murray. Murray and his cohorts escape from their Manhattan bank robbery in their getaway car, only to take the wrong turn from the BQE — they are unable to get back on. Murray finds a sign reading "To I-278," but the arrow at the bottom of the sign rotates around, and around. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway is infamous for rush hour traffic congestion.

Exit list


External links

* [ Brooklyn-Queens Expressway history]

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