Decades in the planning and making, the Kosciuszko Bridge reconstruction project is set to end Thursday with the opening of a second cable-stayed bridge for the Brooklyn-bound side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
After the grand opening of the Queens-bound side in April 2017, the project is due for completion ahead of the September completion date that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in May. In an Aug. 25 announcement, the governor noted that the entire project is four years ahead of original completion projections.
“While the federal administration obsesses over building walls, in New York, we are building bridges and other infrastructure critical to moving our 21st century economy forward,” Cuomo said. “With the opening of the second span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge on Wednesday, we will once again demonstrate to the nation that it’s possible to take on big projects and to get them done on time and on budget.”
During a press tour in May, Cuomo noted that the project totaled $873 million for the state with an over $100,000 incentive for every day the contractors push closer to completion ahead of schedule. This financing model for infrastructure is known as design-build construction and new in New York state, according to Cuomo.
The second cable-stayed span will carry four Brooklyn-bound lanes of the BQE, along with a pedestrian and bike path. The first span, which has carried traffic in both directions since its opening in 2017, will be reconfigured for five lanes of Queens-bound traffic.
The original, 77-year-old bridge opened in 1939 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. as a New Deal public works project. Originally linking Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn with Van Dam Street in Queens, the steel truss bridge was later incorporated into the BQE when it was constructed — and quickly became a traffic-filled nightmare in constant need of repair in later years. It also did not meet many formal federal highway standards for shoulders and lane width.
The first Kosciuszko Bridge was dismantled following the opening of the first new cable-stayed span in 2017.
A public preview of the second new span will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, before the bridge is opened for traffic on Thursday morning, the governor’s office said.
However, it is unclear whether Cuomo will arrive at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in a 1932 Packard owned by FDR as he did at the 2017 opening as well as the opening of the Mario Cuomo Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement named for Cuomo’s father and former state governor.