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Queens Chronicle

Second span of Kosciuszko opens

Cuomo touts bridge, which is first major one built in NYC since 1964

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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2019 10:30 am

Gov. Cuomo announced the opening of the Brooklyn-bound, second span of the Kosciuszko Bridge last Wednesday.

The two-span Kosciuszko is the first major bridge crossing built in the city since the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened 55 years ago.

The opening of the new bridge — which connects Maspeth to Greenpoint and is part of an $873 million design-build construction project — was accomplished four years ahead of schedule and on budget.

“Today isn’t just about a new bridge that is smart, functional, on-budget and done early — it’s also about what this bridge symbolizes,” Cuomo said. “At a time when we have so much negativity, frustration and anger in this country, this bridge is an example of what government and society can do when you focus on the positive. This is New York State at its best. We built this and we made this happen.”

The opening of the second span comes one month ahead of the target date that had been announced in May.

The two spans are meant to ease travel, enhance safety and reduce congestion by providing travelers with five Queens-bound travel lanes and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, plus a 20-foot-wide bikeway and walkway on the Brooklyn-bound span.

The first span opened in April 2017. The first phase of the project got underway in December 2014 and involved the construction of the new span over the Newtown Creek.

The new Brooklyn-bound span measures 952 feet in length and contains more than 3,000 tons of US manufactured steel.

The governor also noted the project has helped to support approximately 11,300 jobs in construction and related fields in the area.

“We know projects like this are not just about safety and traffic flow — it’s about creating better connections and improving quality-of-life for local residents,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Several months ago Cuomo told the story of how his father would time every trip to miss the traffic at the bridge and how in the evenings he would have to plan when to leave home.

“It was always about timing around the traffic at the Kosciuszko Bridge, which was horrendous,” he said.

Cyclists have complained since the opening that it is difficult to get onto the new bridge’s bike lanes.

“Getting on the span right now does feel a little bit like playing ‘Frogger,’” one Williamsburg cyclist told the New York Post.

The city’s Department of Transportation has bike lanes planned for both sides of the bridge. A DOT spokesman told the Post the bike lanes would be implemented soon.

The bridge, known as the Meeker Avenue Bridge when it opened in August 1939, is named for Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish-Lithuanian war hero who fought alongside the Americans during the Revolutionary War.

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