The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was in the planning stages for decades, building it took years and 50 men were killed doing it. But in the end we had a majestic structure spanning the East River that runs 3,724 feet between its anchorages and totals 7,449 feet if you count its approaches. As it neared 80, it finally underwent a major renovation that took 15 years to complete, but it stands tall and strong today.
Compare that with the tiny 149th Street Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Flushing. Four years ago a $7 reconstruction project began. Two years later the city determined it was not yet safe for cars. Then just a few days ago, after two more years of waiting, it was finally revealed that the work was a complete failure and the bridge will have to be torn down and replaced from scratch. How far we’ve fallen.
Now the city is suing to get our money back from the contractor. It hopes to have a new bridge open by next November. We hope so, but we’re not counting on it. What we are counting on is a structure that will be built right in the first place. This is embarrassing.