Nine lanes of freedom will be open to motorists as of Thursday after Governor Andrew Cuomo held a grand opening of both spans of the Kosciuszko Bridge on Wednesday morning.
With the full price tag coming in at $873 million, 85 percent of the funds used were secured by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney over the course of the last decade, the Queens representative said.
“This bridge has $670 million in federal funding … But the state executed it beautifully. We got it done and it’s gorgeous,” Maloney said. “This money was before Trump came in under the prior administration.”
The K Bridge – as Cuomo has referred to it – was completed four years ahead of schedule after the original span built during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt was demolished in 2017 just after the eastern span was completed. The original bridge had only six lanes and no pedestrian or bike access.
This means traffic on the bridge will be reduced by 65 percent, according to Cuomo.
“Think of what that means in terms of time and in terms of preserving the environment,” Cuomo said. “We used it as an opportunity to meet with the communities and ask how we can improve the community. The community did have to suffer through years of traffic and trucks and noise and construction. The end product was worth it, but they did have to go through a difficult time.”
Underneath the bridge on the Queens side, state Department of Transportation will build a 30,000-square-foot park while the Brooklyn side will get seven acres of green space.
Maloney has served in congress since 1993 and has made transit a priority in city in at least the past two decades having provided funding not only for the Second Avenue Subway, but also for East Side Access for which she was able secure $4 billion out of the total cost — $11 billion.
East Side Access will link Sunnyside Yards to Grand Central Terminal by new tunnels which are nearing completion, Maloney wants the MTA to go a step further; she wants them to match additional federal funding to build a Long Island Rail Road station to serve Sunnyside and Long Island City residents.
As both Queens and Brooklyn-bound traffic continues to bottleneck over the eastern span of the bridge, the state will remove the jersey barriers and open the floodgates to traffic on the western side on Thursday morning.