September 29, by Nathaly Pesantez
Two sections of the Old Kosciuszko Bridge will be coming down in the early hours of Oct. 1.
The Queens and Brooklyn approaches of the old bridge are scheduled to be lowered through “an energetic felling process” at around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, according to a release from Governor Cuomo’s office.
Contractors will implode the old steel truss spans in both Brooklyn and Queens to the ground, where the trusses will then be dismantled using heavy equipment and removed, according to the statement.
The 20 trusses are a combined 3,100 feet in length and weigh 22 million pounds. Once lowered, the steel from the approaches will be recycled as scrap metal.
Traffic on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway will be stopped about five to 10 minutes before detonation. Traffic is expected to resume about 15 minutes after detonation, during which time the BQE will close.
Temporary street closures in Brooklyn include Lombardy Street at Varick Avenue, Cherry Street at Vandervoort Avenue, Meeker Avenue at Varick Avenue, and Bridgewater Street at Meeker Avenue.
Capt. Peter Rose of the 94th Precinct told residents during a Sept. 6 community council meeting to take local, alternative routes to avoid the tangle by the bridge for the event.
“It’s going to effect traffic in probably a negative way for an extended period of time,” Capt. Peter Rose said at the meeting.
People interested in viewing the bridge felling at a designated site can sign up for a lottery online by 4:00 p.m. on September 30.
“The energetic felling of the approach spans of the former Kosciuszko Bridge marks another milestone in the construction of the first major new bridge in New York City in more than fifty years and is one more sign that New York State is building a brighter future,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.
The event, however, is contingent on weather conditions permit and other factors that may arise, a spokesperson for Councilmember Stephen Levin’s office confirmed.
The main span of the old Kosciuszko Bridge, which many thought was supposed to leave with a bang, was quietly lowered onto a barge and floated away mid July.
The ongoing work on the bridge is part of an $873 million investment that will bring two new state-of-the-art spans to the Brooklyn-Queens connector. The project, currently in phase 1, focuses on a Queens-bound span and on doing away with the old bridge, with work during the month of August focusing largely on preparation for the removal of the approaches on the old bridge, according to community notices. Phase 2 will see construction of the Brooklyn-bound span, which is expected to be completed in 2020.
Update 9/29 5:19 p.m. – Information from Governor Cuomo’s office included.