On November 9, 2023, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced that the City will start to issue violations for its weigh-in-motion enforcement program that targets overweight trucks on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). In August, a 90-day warning period about the violations was launched. The program’s goal is largely to limit the wear and tear on the Expressway’s cantilever.
Within the first week of the warning period, 344 warnings were issued to overweight vehicles. These numbers dropped dramatically to around 153 warnings by the end of October. Starting November 13, all overweight trucks will be required to pay a $650 fine per weight limit violation. To detect violations, there are sensors in the roadbed that document the vehicles’ weight along with the use of multiple cameras.
The weigh-in-motion enforcement program will be implemented on the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street. The program was able to be enacted under S6246/A6225 which was 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. More information about the truck weight limits and program is available here.
The City’s goal with the enforcement program is to not only deter truck drivers from breaking weight limit laws but protect the structural integrity of the BQE. While DOT admits that there needs to be a ‘long-term’ fix, the program will serve to extend the lifespan of the Expressway. The future of the BQE will include fixing the structure from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, identifying other segments of the BQE that are in need of repair, and using federal funds to upgrade the entirety of the structure for the 21st century.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “New York City is leading the country in protecting and reimagining our critical infrastructure, and the early data is clear that this first-in-the-nation weigh-in-motion program is successfully protecting this roadway so we can continue aggressively working to re-envision a safer and greener BQE. While it is evident that our warnings are sending a message that is loud and clear, the few who are ignoring them are now on notice. 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.”
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said, “New York City is leading the nation with the launch of the first-ever automated weigh-in-motion enforcement system to reduce the number of overweight trucks on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Overweight trucks cause wear and tear that requires costly maintenance and reduces the lifespan of our roads and bridges. We’ve seen a sharp decline in overweight vehicles since we began issuing warnings in August and we expect that the program will continue to remove overweight trucks from our streets. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon for passing and enacting the legislation, and Councilmember Lincoln Restler for securing the necessary approval from the City Council, allowing New York City to leverage this critical technology to keep the BQE safe.”
State Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “I’m glad that NYC DOT will finally be issuing violations for overweight trucks that are brazenly flouting the laws and contributing to the deterioration of the BQE. We must ensure the triple cantilever is safe for New Yorkers to use. I’m proud that WIM is working to safeguard the BQE’s infrastructure and I thank my partners in government and our community for their work and support in getting this done.”
By: Meg Beauregard (Meg is the CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).
Department of Transportation: “NYC DOT Begins Automated Enforcement Against Overweight Trucks on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Releases New Data Showing 90-Day Warning Period Resulted in Sharp Decline in Overweight Trucks” (Nov. 9, 2023).