The rusting traffic nightmare known as the Kosciuszko Bridge on the Maspeth/Brooklyn border will go out with a bang this summer once the first half of its replacement is opened to traffic, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
Cuomo told CBS2 News on Tuesday that parts of the 78-year-old bridge will be blown up to save seven to nine months of construction. The first phase of the $555 million project is almost complete. When finished, there will be two bridges connecting Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Maspeth in each direction.
“Deciding to go with the demolition will save us another seven, nine months,” Cuomo told CB2 News. “Think of it from the commuter’s point of view. Every day, every hour matters. So let’s find out a way to accelerate it, get it done.”
The first cable-stayed suspension bridge will be complete in April and traffic will be rerouted to the new bridge, allowing for the old bridge’s demolition. Both bridges will be up and running by 2020.
Initially built to hold 10,000 cars, the current Kosciuszko Bridge now serves about 185,000 vehicles per day. The new bridge will also be outfitted with LED lights and the colors on the bridge will be changed for special events.
The bridge is named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish general in the American Revolutionary War.
Cuomo said the building of a new bridge is personal because as a child, he would drive over it with his father, Mario Cuomo.
“He would bang the steering wheel because it was always packed,” he said. “It was always annoying.”