New Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens to fully open Thursday, public can walk across it Wednesday
The worst bottleneck on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway should get some long-awaited relief when the second span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge opens to traffic Thursday.
Gov. Cuomo announced the bridge’s opening on Sunday, touting that the project is running four years ahead of schedule.
Pedestrians and cyclists will get a unique preview of the new span from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when they’ll be allowed to use the span before it opens to car and truck traffic.
Starting Thursday, pedestrians and cyclists can share the bridge with cars by using a 20-foot-wide bike and walking path on the bridge’s Brooklyn-bound side.
Construction began on the new bridge in 2014, and engineers expected it’d be finished in 2023.
Officials later moved the date up to 2020, and earlier this year said it would open in September.
Minor construction will continue on the bridge after it opens to traffic, but Cuomo said the whole project is expected to be wrapped up at its budgeted cost of $873 million.
“While the federal administration obsesses over building walls, in New York we are building bridges and other infrastructure critical to moving our 21st century economy forward,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“With the opening of the second span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge on Wednesday, we will once again demonstrate to the nation that it’s possible to take on big projects and to get them done on time and on budget,” Cuomo’s statement said.
The new suspension bridge spans Newtown Creek on the Brooklyn-Queens border, and replaces the now-demolished truss bridge by the same name. The bridge is named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish engineer and military hero who fought alongside U.S. troops in the American Revolutionary War.
The first span of the new structure opened to traffic in 2017, and has since been running with three lanes of traffic in each direction. Come Thursday, it will be a one-way road that holds five lanes of Queens-bound traffic.
Kosciuszko Bridge, which carries an estimated 200,000 cars per day, has for decades been a source of traffic jams on the BQE. Cuomo’s office said the new bridge’s incline is roughly 35 feet lower than the old one, which should ease congestion.
Still, adding more lanes to the crossing could end up leading to more traffic congestion. Several projects to widen highways across the country have resulted in more traffic, a phenomenon that urban planners call “induced demand.”