Kosciuszko Bridge (New York City)
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Kosciuszko Bridge New York City

Coordinates: 40°43?40?N 73°55?45?W / 40.7277°N 73.9291°W / 40.7277; -73.9291

New and old Kosciuszko bridges in February 2017. New cable-stayed bridge is in foreground left. The 1939 truss bridge is behind it and right.
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location of the Kosciuszko Bridge

The Kosciuszko Bridge [1] is a bridge over Newtown Creek in New York City, connecting Greenpoint in Brooklyn to Maspeth in Queens. The current bridge on the site, a cable-stayed bridge, opened in April 2017 and carries three lanes in each direction. It is one of two planned cable-stayed bridges, with a parallel bridge opening in 2020. An older bridge, a truss bridge of the same name that was located to the north of the first cable-stayed bridge, was originally opened in 1939. It was closed in April 2017 and demolished from July to October 2017.

The crossing is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or BQE, which carries Interstate 278. Throughout its history, the Kosciusko Bridge has been the only bridge over Newtown Creek that is not a drawbridge.

The older truss bridge replaced a swing bridge called the Meeker Avenue Bridge, which connected Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn to Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens. The old Kosciuszko Bridge, originally also called the Meeker Avenue Bridge, carried six lanes of traffic, three in each direction. In 1940, a year after opening, the bridge was renamed after Polish military leader Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko, who fought alongside the Americans in the American Revolutionary War.

In 2014, a contract was awarded and work begun to build one of two replacement bridges with more capacity, with the first bridge initially carrying bidirectional traffic. The new bridges have the same name as the original bridge, and are both cable-stayed bridges that will eventually each carry one direction of traffic. The first bridge, located south of the old truss bridge, opened on April 27, 2017, with three lanes in each direction. Once the old bridge was demolished via controlled explosion in October 2017, a new westbound cable-stayed bridge with four lanes and a bike/pedestrian path started construction on the site of the old bridge, and the first cable-stayed bridge will become eastbound-only with five lanes when the westbound bridge opens in 2020.

Original bridges

Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciusko bridge from up Newtown Creek jeh.jpg
1939 bridge as seen from upstream Queens side, 2008
Coordinates
CrossesNewtown Creek
LocaleBrooklyn and Queens, New York City
Maintained byNew York State Department of Transportation
Preceded byGreenpoint Avenue Bridge
Followed byGrand Street Bridge
Characteristics
DesignTruss bridge
Total length6,021 feet (1,835 m)
Longest span300 feet (91 m)
Clearance below125 feet (38 m)
History
OpenedAugust 23, 1939; 79 years ago (1939-08-23)
ClosedApril 27, 2017; 19 months ago (2017-04-27)
Statistics
Daily traffic162,581 (2016)[2]

The first bridge on the site was built in 1803 through an Act of Legislature authorizing the "building of a Toll Bridge over Newtown Creek: this bridge charged one cent per foot passenger, which was why the bridge was called the "Penny Bridge." The original bridge was replaced several times. Also called Meeker Avenue Bridge, the structure in use since 1894 was still informally known by some as the Penny Bridge. The bridge structures connected Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn to Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens.

Until 1888, the bridge was operated by private companies and thereafter became the property of the people. In 1896, the bridge became the property of the city of Brooklyn and in 1898, upon consolidation, it was taken over by the Department of Bridges of the Greater City of New York.[3]

The Kosciuszko Bridge, originally referred to as the Meeker Avenue Bridge, opened on August 23, 1939.[4][3] It was built at a cost of $6 million[5] to $13 million[4] (equal to between $106,000,000 and $229,000,000 in current dollars).[6]

1939 Meeker Avenue Bridge's design and form were vastly different than the first Meeker Avenue Bridge. The earlier was a swing drawbridge and carried a two-lane, 20-foot-wide (6.1 m) roadway and two sidewalks. The new bridge carried two three-lane concrete roadways each 32 feet (9.8 m) wide and separated by a 4-foot (1.2 m) median. Additionally, this new bridge structure contained 16,315 short tons (14,801 t) of steel, along with 88,120 cubic yards (67,370 m3) of concrete masonry.[3]

One person who helped build the new $1,500,000 Meeker Avenue Bridge was John Kelly, a former Navy deep-sea diver from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who became famous for helping to work on the new bridge. In 1938, he completed his task of building a cofferdam, a box-like structure made of 250 steel sheets. This enabled workmen to operate and build an underwater pier in dry surroundings on the Brooklyn side of the new bridge; after that, Kelly began cutting away cofferdam bracings on the Queens side, at Laurel Hill Boulevard and Review Avenue. One of the tools he worked with was an underwater-operated cutting torch, which burned oxygen, hydrogen, and compressed air.[7]

The city government officially renamed the bridge after Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko, a Polish volunteer who was a General in the American Revolutionary War, on July 10, 1940.[5] On September 22, 1940, months after the conquest of Poland, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia led a ceremony in which he formally renamed the new Meeker Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek after Ko?ciuszko.[8][9][4] The naming occurred in the presence of 15,000 people, mainly Polish-American residents and city and state government representatives, some stating that the spirit of Polish liberty would never die.[8][5] There were parades at both ends of the bridge, and La Guardia also unveiled plaques that commemorated the new name.[5] In making an ovation, the mayor described President Franklin D. Roosevelt, like Ko?ciuszko, as a "champion of liberty during a difficult period", referring to World War II in which Poland was occupied by Germany. He also stated, "I am confident that Poland will live again. Any land that breeds such lovers of freedom can never be kept enslaved. The Polish people may be captive, but the flaming spirit of Polish liberty will never be destroyed."[8] Two of the bridge towers were surmounted with eagles, one with the Polish eagle and the other the American eagle.[10]

A repaving project in 1958 temporarily made the bridge a one-way operation for five months. Only Queens-bound traffic was allowed during afternoons and evenings, while only Brooklyn-bound traffic was permitted at all other times.[11] In 1965, the Kosciuszko Bridge was widened,[12] and the approach ramps on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Long Island Expressway were rebuilt into an incomplete partial cloverleaf interchange for $32.7 million.[13] The BQE was rebuilt from Cherry Street, at the Brooklyn end of the bridge, to Queens Boulevard in Queens. A small section of the LIE was reconstructed near its interchange with the BQE, between Van Dam Street and Maurice Avenue. This necessitated temporary detour routes around the bridge.[12]

Replacement

Kosciuszko Bridge
New Kosciuszko Bridge rendering.jpg
Rendering of replacement when both bridges are completed.
Coordinates
Carries (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)
CrossesNewtown Creek
LocaleBrooklyn and Queens, New York City
Maintained byNew York State Department of Transportation
Preceded byGreenpoint Avenue Bridge
Followed byGrand Street Bridge
Characteristics
DesignCable-stayed bridge
Longest span1,001 feet (305 m)
Clearance below90 feet (27 m)
History
OpenedApril 27, 2017; 19 months ago (2017-04-27) (eastbound)
2020 (westbound)

The old 1939 bridge, which was only meant to serve 10,000 vehicles per day, ended up serving 18 times that amount of traffic when it became part of the Interstate Highway System. It was not up to Interstate standards since it did not have any drainage pipes or shoulders.[14] By the 1990s, the bridge was deteriorating and heavily congested. After an 18-month study in 1994-5, State Transportation Department officials concluded that in order to relieve congestion on the busy span, a new $100 million bridge, which included an additional three lanes, should be built next to the original six-lane Kosciuszko Bridge. This new bridge would be part of a renovation project planned for the entire crossing. DOT Supervisor Peter King stated that this new bridge may be required to avoid severe traffic backups on neighborhood streets surrounding the bridge during renovation of the Kosciuszko. King felt that in order to resolve the increasing number of severely congested streets and intersections, "a second parallel span" may be the answer.[15]

Two pylons built, June 2016
Traveling across the new eastbound bridge, April 2017
Seen at night, October 2018

Construction of eastbound bridge

In 2009, it was decided to replace the 1939 structure with a new bridge, which was to consist of a five-lane eastbound span, a four-lane westbound span, a bike path, and a walkway.[16] Four designs were considered for the new structure: a cable-stayed bridge, a through arch bridge, a box girder bridge, and a deck arch bridge.[17] The cable-stayed bridge design, selected after a public review process, makes the replacement bridge the first vehicular cable-stayed bridge in New York City since the Brooklyn Bridge (which has a hybrid suspension/cable-stayed design),[18] as well as the first major new bridge in New York City since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge's completion in 1964.[18][19]

Construction was originally expected to begin in 2013,[20] but was then delayed to winter 2014. About 140 trees were removed on both sides of the bridge in April 2014 in preparation for the rebuilding, though officials say twice the number of trees will be replanted once the bridge's reconstruction was completed.[21]

On May 23, 2014, a $554,770,000 design-build contract was awarded to a team consisting of Skanska, which will be managing partner; Ecco III of Yonkers; Kiewit Corporation of Nebraska; and HNTB of Kansas as the lead design firm.[22][23] It is the largest single contract ever awarded by the New York State Department of Transportation. The work involved building a new eastbound viaduct, which was completed in 2017; the existing eastbound structure would then be demolished. The westbound viaduct would then be completed by 2020.[24] The new bridges are being built since the Kosciuszko Bridge is known as a notorious traffic bottleneck; according to The New York Times, it is "perhaps the city's most notorious [bridge], hated and feared by drivers and synonymous in traffic reports with bottlenecks, stop-and-go and general delay."[17] The bridges would reduce delays by up to 65% during rush hours, as well as provide a new pedestrian/bicycle connection between the boroughs.[25][26]

On December 4, 2014, work began on the eastbound bridge, which entailed temporarily narrowing the Meeker Avenue entrance on the Brooklyn side on the bridge in order to widen it in the long run. Work was to take place in the daytime, temporarily causing more traffic congestion.[27] By August 2015, the two pylons for the eastbound bridge, as well as part of the bridge structure, was under construction.[28] The 287-foot-high (87 m) pylons were sunk 150 to 185 feet (46 to 56 m), with each pylon resting on four foundations at that depth. After the pylons were completed, a supporting steel-and-concrete deck section called a pier table was built between the two pylons. The other deck sections were then built outward from the pier table, with two cables supporting each section, creating a 1,001-foot-long (305 m) deck supported by 56 cables in total. A 4,000-short-ton (3,600-long-ton) counterweight was built under the western section of the eastbound bridge since the eastern section was longer and heavier.[18] The new bridge was built to withstand a century's worth of traffic.[29]

The new eastbound bridge, which will initially host both directions of traffic,[30] opened ahead of schedule[31] on April 27, 2017,[19] with a ceremony attended by Governor Andrew Cuomo.[25] The bridge is the first of several bridges citywide to feature an advanced lighting system--part of Governor Cuomo's "New York Harbor of Lights" initiative--which would allow the bridge to display light shows as a tourist attraction.[19] At that time, five of six lanes of traffic were shifted to the new bridge, with a single lane of westbound traffic temporarily using the old bridge until the end of the month.[32][25] The new bridge kept the same name as the original in order to commemorate Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko.[29]

Construction of westbound bridge

Looking east at collapsed approach

Part of the original structure was set to be demolished by controlled explosion in summer 2017[33] so that work on the new westbound bridge could begin soon after.[34][35] This type of demolition, beginning with Governor Cuomo personally detonating the bridge, saved seven to nine months compared to if the entire bridge had been carefully dismantled. The new westbound span and pedestrian/bike lanes would be ready in 2020, providing the bridge with extra traffic capacity.[25][33] Initial reports speculated that the explosion date would be July 11, but the New York State Department of Transportation later confirmed that the bridge would be demolished in stages without any explosion. Instead, the main span of the bridge would be lowered onto a barge, and the approaches would then be exploded. This updated plan was meant to be environmentally friendly since less of the bridge would be scattered into the creek below.[36] At the time there was no date set for the actual demolition.[37]

The old bridge's main span was lowered onto two barges tied together, and on July 26, 2017, the main span was shipped to New Jersey to be recycled.[38][39] This marked the completion of the first phase of the old bridge's demolition.[40] The approaches to the former main span were demolished on October 1, 2017, with the detonation of 944 small explosive charges.[41][42] This was the largest explosive demolition in New York City and the first of a bridge there.[43] The state would recycle the twenty trusses from the approaches, which weigh a combined 22,000,000 pounds (10,000,000 kg).[44]

Controversy

The nameplate of the Kosciuszko Bridge (I-278) between Brooklyn and Queens, New York.

In 2008, it was discovered that two Native American tribes indigenous to Queens, the Matinecocks and the Canarsies, were not informed of the bridge replacement project under federal law, which infuriated them. The Delaware Nation, in Oklahoma, and the Stockbridge-Munsee, in Wisconsin, both originally native to New York City, were given a month to comment on the bridge project, in addition to the Matinecocks and the Canarsies.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ This describes two possible pronunciations, but there are many other pronunciations in practice. See:
    • Kosciuszko Bridge Project Open House, Introduction on YouTube
    • Dunlap, David W. (2017-04-28). "How Do You Pronounce Kosciuszko? It Depends on Where You're From". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. 2016. p. 9. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Anonymous. "Meeker Avenue Bridge Opened." Queens Borough. August 1939.
  4. ^ a b c "Mayor Opens Span With Peace Plea". The New York Times. August 24, 1939. p. 25. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kosciuszko Bridge Named by Mayor for Hero of 1776". Brooklyn Eagle. September 23, 1940. Retrieved 2016 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Anonymous. "His Mistake In Joining Navy Instead Of The Army Makes Former Flushing Man Famous As Diver." Long Island Daily Press. October 11, 1938.
  8. ^ a b c "Kosciuszko Bridge is Named by Mayor". The New York Times. September 23, 1940. p. 19. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Mooney, Jake (February 13, 2009). "Plans and Wary Neighbors for an Icon of Gridlock". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009.
  10. ^ Rafferty, Brian (April 5, 2007). "Bridge Plan Up For Public Approval". Queens Tribune via reprint in the wirednewyork.com Thread: Kosciuszko Bridge. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "Bridge Paving Job to Force Queens-Brooklyn Detours". Long Island Star-Journal. March 22, 1958. p. 1 – via Fultonhistory.com.
  12. ^ a b "Motorists, Clip and Save: Alternate Routes Listed". Greenpoint Weekly Star. March 31, 1967. p. 5 – via Fultonhistory.com.
  13. ^ "$32-Million Queens Cloverleaf Approved by Board of Estimate; It Will Link Brooklyn-Queens and Long Island Expressways 50 Maspeth Homeowners Protest Vainly". The New York Times. 1966-05-21. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Barone, Vincent (April 26, 2017). "Kosciuszko Bridge opening signals new beginning". am New York. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ Strong, Otto (May 25, 1995). "$100M Bridge Relief?". Newsday.
  16. ^ Angelos, James (April 10, 2009). "Uneasily Contemplating the Arrival of a Spiffy Newcomer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009.
  17. ^ a b Newman, Andy (February 18, 2010). "A Tired Old Bridge Gets a New Look. No, Four of Them". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ a b c Dunlap, David W. (April 27, 2017). "3 New Bridges Rise in New York, With Looks That Could Stop Traffic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ a b c Blain, Glenn (April 23, 2017). "Kosciuszko Bridge to make flashy Thursday debut, featuring Cuomo". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Chinese, Vera (April 25, 2012). "Construction on new Kosciuszko Bridge to begin in 2013, a year ahead of schedule". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012.
  21. ^ Furfaro, Danielle (April 3, 2014). "DOT chopped 53 trees to save Northern long-eared bat Kosciuszko Bridge pain o The Brooklyn Paper". Brooklynpaper.com. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Check Out These Renderings for the New Kosciuszko Bridge". Curbed NY.
  23. ^ "This is What the Kosciuszko Bridge Could Look Like". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014.
  24. ^ "Kosciuszko Bridge Project root page". NYSDOT.
  25. ^ a b c d Fitzsimmons, Emma G.; Schweber, Nate (April 28, 2017). "New Kosciuszko Bridge. Same Old Traffic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "Benefits for Drivers, Cyclists & Pedestrians". NYSDOT.
  27. ^ Eli Rosenberg (December 4, 2014). "Reconstruction work on the 75-year-old Kosciuszko Bridge will create added gridlock on a major road leading to the span". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "Key August 2015 Construction Activities" (PDF). dot.ny.gov. August 2015. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ a b Burrell, Janelle; Adams, Sean (April 28, 2017). "First Span Of New Kosciuszko Bridge Open To Traffic". CBS New York. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "Coming in Early 2017 New Kosciuszko Bridge" (PDF). dot.ny.gov. Spring 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ Barca, Christopher (January 12, 2017). "Kosciuszko Bridge coming along quick". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ "New Kosciuszko Bridge Takes on First Morning Rush". NBC New York. Retrieved .
  33. ^ a b "CBS2 Exclusive: A Sneak Peek At New Kosciuszko Bridge Span". CBS News. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ Colon, David (February 22, 2017). "New York Is Blowing The Kosciuszko Bridge Straight To Hell". Gothamist. Archived from the original on February 24, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ "Controlled Implode: Old Kosciuszko Bridge Coming Down This Summer". TWC News. February 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ Frangipane, Paul. "No Big Bang: Kosciuszko Bridge not being demolished Tuesday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved .
  37. ^ Fertoli, Annmarie (July 7, 2017). "Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Bridge Explosion?". WNYC. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ Frangipane, Paul (July 26, 2017). "VIDEO: Bridge on a Barge: Old Kosciuszko Bridge span dismantled, shipped down creek". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved .
  39. ^ Slattery, Denis (July 26, 2017). "Old Kosciuszko Bridge dismantled, span sent to N.J. for recycling". NY Daily News. Retrieved .
  40. ^ Hill, Chris (2017-08-11). "PHOTOS: Skanska completes first phase of former Kosciuszko Bridge demo with lowering of main span". Equipment World. Retrieved .
  41. ^ Newman, Andy; McGeehan, Patrick (2017-10-01). "A Gray Puff, and the Old Kosciuszko Bridge Is No More". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  42. ^ Narizhnaya, Khristina (2017-10-01). "Kosciuszko Bridge gets blown up". New York Post. Retrieved .
  43. ^ "Down and Out 'Energetic felling' process removes a 78-year-old New York City bridge". Engineering News Record. October 9, 2017. p. 7.
  44. ^ Baulkman, Jaleesa (2017-09-30). "Kosciuszko Bridge to be demolished". New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV. Retrieved .
  45. ^ Lavinger, John (November 18, 2008). "Bridge to a Troubled Past: Kosciuszko plans reopen old wounds for 2 Native American Tribes". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017.

External links


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Kosciuszko_Bridge_(New_York_City)
 



 



 
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