Friday, July 25, 2014

Construction of New Kosciuszko Bridge to Begin in Fall

The 75-year-old Kosciuszko Bridge is in disrepair and a project to replace it will begin in the coming weeks. A joint venture of Skanska USA, Kiewit and ECCO III Enterprises has been awarded a contract by the NYS Department of Transportation to design and build the new Kosciuszko Bridge, a project with a total value of $555 million. The project that will transform the Queens skyline with a sleek modern structure across Newtown Creek. Construction is slated to begin this fall, with completion scheduled for 2018.

The DOT held a meeting last week to discuss details of the $555 million first phase of the project that will replace the 75-year-old bridge that carries more than 160,000 vehicles over the Brooklyn Queens Expressway each day.

The new Kosciuszko Bridge will be a modern cable-stayed design, the first of its type in New York City, and will be built to last for a hundred years.

Other features will include a new bikeway and walkway that will offer spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline as well as new parks and green spaces, increased access to the Newtown Creek waterfront and enhancements, such as decorative lighting, tree plantings and new sidewalks.

The first phase of the project will construct a Queens-bound span that will handle traffic in both directions.

The old bridge will be disassembled and floated away on barges on Newtown Creek. The second phase will be the construction of a Brooklyn-bound span. The entire project is expected to be completed in early 2018.

Skanska will design and build new eastbound structures for the Kosciuszko Bridge to carry the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway between Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn and the Long Island Expressway Interchange in Queens.

It will also perform the demolition of the existing bridge structures and buildings on acquired properties to clear the right-of-way for construction activities.

The new bridge will improve traffic safety, reduce congestion and improve travel speeds by including wider lanes and extra lanes in both directions. It will have a reduced road incline, which will make it easier for trucks to maintain consistent speeds on the bridge.

The current state of the bridge causes daily traffic tie-ups stretching far into both Brooklyn and Queens.

“A minor accident on the Kosciuszko Bridge can shortly slow traffic down on the Robert F. Kennedy and the Williamsburg bridges and ripple eastwards up the Long Island Expressway all within minutes.”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said: "The aging Kosciuszko Bridge carries more than 160,000 vehicles between Brooklyn and Queens each day and is essential to local and regional commerce.”

The DOT also announced a program that sets aside $70 million to ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are part of the process.

“This critical investment in our transportation infrastructure in New York City will keep travelers safe for decades to come and will support environmental and quality of life improvements in the communities it serves."

The original Kosciuszko Bridge opened in 1939, and is named for a Polish general in the American Revolutionary War. It is more than 6,000 feet in length.

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