Main span of former Kosciuszko Bridge will be lowered in a process that takes about 16 hours

Photo by Dean Moses

The city has started deconstructing the Kosciuszko Bridge in Maspeth today, as crews are lowering the main span and shipping it to a metal recycling facility in New Jersey.

According to the Department of Transportation, steel cables will be used lower the span 125 feet, approximately 20 feet an hour, on to two barges. It will take 16 to 18 hours to complete.

In April, Governor Andrew Cuomo held a ceremony for the first phase of the newly constructed Kosciuszko Bridge. The first of two twin cable-stayed spans was the first new bridge built in New York City since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964.

The old Kosciuszko is being demolished to make way for the second span, which will be erected in its footprint. The approaches to the 78-year-old bridge will be imploded to save seven to nine months of construction. The controlled procedure does not blow up the bridge but cuts key connections that cause the spans to fall.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said that there is currently no set date for the implosion.

The first new Kosciuszko Bridge (which will eventually become the Queens-bound span) currently carries three lanes of traffic in both directions until the second bridge is complete in 2020. In total, construction will cost $873 million. When completed, the Queens-bound side of the bridge will hold five lanes of traffic while the Brooklyn-bound span will hold four.