UPDATED Oct. 1, 9 a.m.
What’s left of the 78-year-old traffic nightmare that was the old Kosciuszko Bridge went out with a split-second bang on Sunday morning.
At 8 a.m., crews pushed the button that ignited an “energetic felling” of the structure, as Governor Andrew Cuomo called it, sending down the bridge’s approaches on the Queens and Brooklyn sides of the Newtown Creek. The main steel span was dismantled, lowered onto a barge and shipped away back in July.
The blast was audible to residents living within a few miles of the span. Hundreds of spectators gathered on the Brooklyn side cheered as the 20 remaining trusses fell.
The pilings landed onto berms of soil to reduce dust exposure. The governor estimates that 22 million pounds of the old bridge’s steel will be recovered and recycled.
The old bridge’s demolition clears the way for the state Transportation Department to build a second cable-stayed bridge nearly identical to the one that opened in April. Imploding the old bridge, Cuomo previously said, would reduce the project to build the second bridge by seven to nine months. The new span is expected to be completed in 2019.
Rumors about when the old bridge would come down had circulated for months. A previously announced September date turned out to be inaccurate. QNS first reported about Sunday’s demolition date on Sept. 27.
The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the new Kosciuszko Bridge were closed for a number of minutes before and after the implosion. A number of local streets in Maspeth and Greenpoint had been closed since Saturday night as crews prepared for the operation.