First Major New Bridge Constructed in New York City in More Than Fifty Years
Grand Opening Will Be Marked by Spectacular Light Show at New Bridge and Empire State Building
Premier of “The New York Harbor of Lights” That Will Transform New York’s Structures into International Tourist Attractions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the first span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. The Kosciuszko Bridge, which will be the first new bridge constructed in New York City since the Verrazano Bridge in 1964, will be open to traffic in both directions on April 27, 2017. The Governor will mark the grand opening with a spectacular light show coordinated to music airing on multiple iHeartRadio stations. The light show is the first performance in “The New York Harbor of Lights” that will illuminate crossings with multi-color LED light shows that will be visible for miles. The shows will transform New York's already awe-inspiring structures into international tourist attractions to drive additional tourism revenue. The premier of “The New York Harbor of Lights” will also include coordination with the lights of the Empire State Building.
In addition to the Kosciuszko Bridge, the light shows will be installed on all seven MTA-operated bridges and tunnels, including the Henry Hudson Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, RFK Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge by May 2018. Also included in “The New York Harbor of Lights” is the George Washington Bridge. The lights will have ability to be coordinated to music and to one another for special events. The shows will significantly boost the state tourism industry, which already sees $63 billion in direct visitor spending annually – a $9 billion increase since 2011.
The Kosciuszko Bridge project is replacing the existing 78-year-old bridge, first opened in 1939 under President Roosevelt’s administration, with two new state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridges, one Queens-bound and one Brooklyn-bound. The $555 million Phase I project, the largest single contract the New York State Department of Transportation has ever undertaken, constru cted the Queens-bound bridge and will include three lanes of traffic in each direction until the completion of Phase II. The new bridge will be a benefit to approximately 200,000 commuters each day.
"The Empire State is undertaking the most ambitious infrastructure program in the nation, and the new Kosciuszko Bridge will be an iconic New York structure for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "The new bridge - the first major New York City Bridge to open in more than 50 years - will bring much-needed relief to commuters and be a spectacular addition to the New York City skyline. It is a vibrant symbol of how the State is not just talking about moving vital infrastructure projects forward, but actually getting them done and restoring New York’s tradition of excellence."
The Governor announced plans to implode two major sections of the old bridge, to take place this summer, in February, clearing the way for Phase II of the project to begin in May of this year, a full seven months ahead of schedule. This will move up the expected opening of the Brooklyn-bound span to early 2020, a full four years ahead of schedule.
In the final configuration, the Queens-bound bridge will carry five lanes of traffic and a separate Brooklyn-bound bridge will carry four lanes, as well as a 20-feet-wide bikeway/walkway with spectacular views of Manhattan. Shoulders will be added to both bridges, where none currently exist. The roadway incline will also be lowered by approximately 35 feet, making it easier for trucks and other large vehicles to maintain consistent speeds on the bridge – helping reduce traffic congestion.
The design-build contract for this project is being used across New York’s large infrastructure projects including on the New New York Bridge project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. Design-build contractors submitted proposals to design and build the bridge at the same time. The design-build process, implemented by Governor Cuomo, allows for the combining of design and construction services into single contracts to help expedite repair work to vital infrastructure and save taxpayer money. Through funding made available as a part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Works program to create jobs and the use of design build the entire project was able to be accelerated.
Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust, said, "The Empire State Building is happy to shine its world-famous tower lights to welcome the New York Harbor of Lights as they join us in illuminating the spectacular NYC skyline.”