Implosion of Sections of 77-Year-Old Kosciuszko Bridge is Major Milestone of the New Bridge Project
First Span of New Bridge to Open to Traffic Early Spring
Phase II to Begin Seven Months Ahead of Schedule
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a major milestone in the construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge with plans to implode two major sections of the 77-year-old bridge this summer. The implosion will clear the way for Phase II of the project to begin in May of this year, a full seven months ahead of schedule, and move up the expected opening of the Brooklyn-bound span to early 2020, a full four years ahead of schedule. Governor Cuomo also announced that traffic will switch from the old bridge to the first span of the new bridge in early Spring 2017.
"New York is recapturing the bold ambition that made this the Empire State in the first place, and accelerating construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge is the latest example of how we are growing and innovating," Governor Cuomo said. "When people see that we can actually take on the big challenges, we restore confidence in government and the belief in our capacity to get things done."
The Kosciuszko Bridge project is replacing the existing 77-year-old bridge with two new state-of-the-art 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, is constructing the Queens-bound bridge and removing the existing bridge.
The design-build team responsible for the project will implode the current Brooklyn and Queens approaches, which total roughly three-quarters of a mile. The main span will be dropped down and removed separately to avoid dropping materials into Newtown Creek. The design-build team conducted detailed engineering and vibration analysis to ensure the environmental safety of the implosion process.
Once the existing bridge is removed, the Brooklyn-bound bridge will be constructed in its place during Phase II. In the interim, the Queens-bound bridge will be wide enough to carry three lanes of BQE traffic in each direction.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision, the new Kosciuszko Bridge will be ready to serve New Yorkers years ahead of schedule. The new bridge is not only a striking addition to the New York skyline; it is an engineering masterpiece that will enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion, improving quality of life for people living in the surrounding communities."
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.
The design-build contract for this project was modeled after the accelerated process used 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. A Project Labor Agreement between the construction team and the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council is part of the agreement. Through funding made available through NY Works and the use of design build, the Brooklyn bound direction, originally schedule to completed in 2024, will now be completed in 2020 – a full four years ahead of schedule.