May 7, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The second span of the inter-borough Kosciuszko Bridge will open in September, which will mark the completion of the bridge four years ahead of schedule, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference yesterday.
The bridge will provide the Brooklyn Queens Expressway with five Queens-bound traffic lanes and four Brooklyn-bound traffic lanes, as well as a 20-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path.
The new Kosciuszko Bridge, an expansive $873 million project, will be the first new bridge built in the city in 55 years, following the completion of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in 1964. The new two-span suspension bridge was originally expected to be completed in early 2024.
Construction on the new bridge began in 2014, adjacent to the old truss bridge. The first span of the bridge opened to traffic in both directions in April 2017, at which point the old bridge officially closed and was soon demolished in order for construction to begin on the second span.
The first span is currently running with three lanes of traffic in each direction. This span will ultimately be the Queens-bound portion when the second span opens. The second span will be for Brooklyn-bound motorists when it opens.
“We advanced the schedule and we’re saving four years, which is critical because an entire generation has grown up without seeing really new, dramatic, big projects getting done,” Cuomo said. “But New Yorkers still can do it. We can still do great things when we put our mind to it, and we can still do it right and do it well and we can still make it beautiful. That’s what this bridge says to me, and I hope it says that to the people of New York.”
The previous Kosciuszko Bridge, which opened in 1939, was well over capacity and facing daily bottlenecks. The bridge was initially designed to handle 10,000 vehicles but was servicing up to 200,000 vehicles every day, creating the severe traffic delays, Cuomo said.
It has been estimated that once the bridge is complete, travel speeds along the BQE will improve, with delays on this section of the highway decreasing by 65 percent.