One of the city's biggest ongoing infrastructure projects is the revamp of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Maspeth, Queens. Actually two separate bridges that span Newtown Creek, the structure was built in 1939 and handles heavy BQE traffic daily. According to CBS, the bridge was originally intended to handle 10,000 cars a day, but now it gets 185,000.
Untapped Cities explains that after the state Historic Preservation Office voted in favor of a complete replacement of the bridge, which had more violations than any other in NYC after a 2008 inspection, construction began on two new spans. The first will open this spring and handle traffic in both directions, and the second will debut in 2020, at which point Brooklyn and Queens-bound traffic will use separate spans.
But first, the old bridge needs to be demolished, and many Greenpoint residents were none too pleased when they found out the state's plan for doing so last week. DNA Info reports that the New York state Department of Transportation announced that the old Kosciuszko will be blown up and removed in segments this summer, which locals and elected representatives say they discovered only through media reports, rather than being consulted ahead of time.
Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams expressed concerns over the potential environmental impact of the scheduled implosion. As it happens, cleanup efforts are already underway at Newtown Creek, a Superfund site since 2010. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that the EPA is in the midst of collecting data to assess risks to human health and local ecology there.
Adams called upon the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide information of how the dismantling could affect Greenpoint's environment; a spokesperson for his office shot back that the planned implosion is the "safest and most efficient plan."
Political bickering aside, there's hope that the new bridge will at least ease some traffic woes. NYC motorists have no love for the Kosciuszko's current incarnation: The Queens Chronicle reports that when the state DoT asked drivers to share their favorite memories of the structure, they got responses like this one on Yelp: “I once got stuck here between, 1 [a.m.] to 4 a.m. I will never forget that night.”
A more recent Yelper notes: "My 3 year old Grandson calls this the 'dirty bridge'."
There's no date set yet for when New York will bid the "dirty bridge" farewell, but Adams has requested a clarification from the governor's office. Perhaps we'll get a definitive answer, too, on how to pronounce the bridge's name.
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