Once a weight that exceeds the 80,000-pound limit or axle limit, A photograph will be take of the license plate of the truck and the owner of that truck will then receive 650 dollar summons

Gridlock Sam' breaks down overweight truck crackdown on BQE


PUBLISHED 9:34 AM ET AUG. 11, 2023

The city began its crackdown on overweight trucks on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Thursday in an effort to preserve the longevity of the roadway. Traffic expert and former commissioner for the city’s Department of Transportation Sam “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz joined “Mornings On 1” Friday to discuss what truckers can now expect. 

Schwartz explained that weight sensors have already been installed on the highway between Atlantic Avenue and South Street, and photographic technology, similar to red-light cameras, will now be used to detect overweight vehicles. 

“Once a weight that exceeds the 80,000-pound limit, or the axle limit, a photograph will be taken of the license plate of the truck, and the owner of that truck will then receive a $650 summons,” he said. 

Addressing weight limit violations, Schwartz said, "As many as one in 10 tractor-trailers is overweight." 

He said that the constant violations are causing the already crumbling road to continue to deteriorate – even if drivers cannot physically see the wear and tear. 

“The concrete that you're riding on may look OK because there's an asphalt overlay, but what's happening is the reinforcing bars within that concrete have long ago corroded and that is making the concrete crumble because the corrosion byproduct is larger than the reinforcing bars to begin with,” Schwartz said. 

The city will be sending out warnings to overweight trucks until November, when fines will be issued. 

Schwartz said he is hopeful that truckers will get the memo with the first fine and no longer use the fragile roadway. He also hopes the city can expand the program to other roadways that are in need of repairs. 

“If it’s successful here, it'll be like the red-light cameras and speed cameras we have near schools. You will sit it rolled out on the Bruckner Expressway, the elevated portions of the Long Island Expressway,” he said. “Wherever the structure itself becomes a bridge will be a logical location for this.”


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