Kosciuszko Bridge (New York City)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the bridge carrying Interstate 278 over the Newtown Creek in New York City. For the twin bridges carrying Interstate 87 over the Mohawk River in upstate New York, see Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge.

The Kosciuszko Bridge /ˌkɒziˈɒsk, ˌkɒʒiˈɒʃk/[1] refers to two bridges that span Newtown Creek between the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, connecting Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Maspeth, Queens. It is a part of Interstate 278, which is also locally known as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or BQE.

The original bridge is a truss bridge that opened in 1939, replacing the Penny Bridge that connected Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn to Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens, and is the only bridge over Newtown Creek that is not a drawbridge. It was named in honor of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish volunteer who was a General in the American Revolutionary War.[2] Two of the bridge towers were surmounted with eagles, one with the Polish eagle and the other the American eagle.[3]

In 2014, a contract was awarded and work begun to build a replacement bridge with more capacity. This new bridge has the same name as the original bridge.[4]

Original bridge[edit]

Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciusko bridge from up Newtown Creek jeh.jpg
The bridge as seen from the upstream Queens side
Coordinates 40°43′40″N 73°55′45″W / 40.7277°N 73.9291°W / 40.7277; -73.9291Coordinates: 40°43′40″N 73°55′45″W / 40.7277°N 73.9291°W / 40.7277; -73.9291
Carries I-278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)
Crosses Newtown Creek
Locale Brooklyn and Queens, New York City
Maintained by New York State Department of Transportation
Preceded by Greenpoint Avenue Bridge
Followed by Grand Street Bridge
Characteristics
Design Truss bridge
Total length 6,021 feet (1,835 m)
Longest span 300 feet (91 m)
Clearance below 125 feet (38 m)
History
Opened 1939
Closed 2017 (projected)
Statistics
Daily traffic 181,783 (2008)[5]
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in New York
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in USA
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City

The Kosciuszko Bridge, originally referred to as the new Meeker Avenue Bridge, was opened in August 1939.[6] the new structure of this bridge replaced the old Meeker Avenue Bridge (originally called the "Penny Bridge"), which had been in use since 1894.[6] The history of the old bridge dates back to 1803 and was built through an Act of Legislature, authorizing the "building of a Toll Bridge over Newtown Creek: this bridge charged one cent per foot passenger, which was the reason the bridge was called the "Penny Bridge."[6] Until 1888, the bridge was operated by private companies and then after became the property of the people[6] In 1896, the bridge became the property of the city of Brooklyn and in 1898, upon consolidation, it was taken over by the Department of Bridges of the Greater City of New York.[6]

The original Meeker Avenue Bridge had been replaced several times. The new Meeker Avenue Bridge's 1939 design and form was vastly different than the first Meeker Avenue Bridge.[6] The latter was a swing drawbridge and carried a two-lane roadway 20-ft wide and two sidewalks.[6] The new bridge carried two three-lane concrete roadways each 32-ft wide and separated by a 4-foot center mall.[6] Additionally, this new bridge structure contains 16,315 tons of steel, along 88,120 cubic yards of concrete masonry.[6]

One of the builders of the new $1,500,000 Meeker Avenue Bridge was John Kelly, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who was a former Navy deep sea diver who became famous for helping to work on the new bridge.[7] In 1938, he completed his task of building a cofferdam, a box-like structure made of 250 steel sheets.[7] This enabled workmen to operate and build an underwater pier in dry surroundings on the Greenpoint side of the new bridge; after that, Kelly began cutting away cofferdam bracings on the Queens side, at Laurel Hill Boulevard and Review Avenue.[7] One of the tools he worked with was an underwater-operated cutting torch, which burned oxygen, hydrogen, and compressed air.[7]

On September 22, 1940, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, formally named the new Meeker Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek after Tadeusz Kościuszko in the presence of 15,000 people,[8] mainly Polish residents and city and state government representatives, some stating that the spirit of Polish liberty would never die.[8] In making an ovation, the mayor described President Franklin D. Roosevelt, like Kościuszko, as a "champion of liberty during a difficult period", referring to World War II in which Poland was occupied by Germany. He also stated, "I am confident that Poland will live again. Any land that breeds such lovers of freedom can never be kept enslaved. The Polish people may be captive, but the flaming spirit of Polish liberty will never be destroyed."[8]

Replacement[edit]

Kosciuszko Bridge
New Kosciuszko Bridge rendering.jpg
Rendering of replacement when it is completed.
Coordinates 40°43′40″N 73°55′45″W / 40.7277°N 73.9291°W / 40.7277; -73.9291
Carries I-278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)
Crosses Newtown Creek
Locale Brooklyn and Queens, New York City
Maintained by New York State Department of Transportation
Preceded by Greenpoint Avenue Bridge
Followed by Grand Street Bridge
Characteristics
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Clearance below 95 feet (29 m)
History
Opened 2017 (eastbound)
2020 (westbound)
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in New York
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City
Kosciuszko Bridge is located in USA
Kosciuszko Bridge
Kosciuszko Bridge
Location in New York City

After an 18-month study in the 1990s, State Transportation Department officials concluded that in order to relieve congestion on the busy span, a new $100 million bridge, which included an additional three lanes, should be built next to the original six-lane Kosciuszko Bridge.[9] This new bridge would be part of a renovation project planned for the entire crossing.[9] DOT Supervisor Peter King stated that this new bridge may be required to avoid severe traffic backups on neighborhood streets surrounding the bridge during renovation of the Kosciuszko.[9] King felt that in order to resolve the increasing number of severely congested streets and intersections, "a second parallel span" may be the answer.[9]

In the 2010s, it was decided to replace the 1939 structure with a new bridge, which was to consist of a five-lane eastbound span, a four-lane westbound span, a bike path, and a walkway.[10] Four designs were considered for the new structure: a cable-stayed bridge, a through arch bridge, a box girder bridge, and a deck arch bridge.[11] The cable-stayed bridge design selected after a public review process will make the replacement bridge the first of its type in New York City since the Brooklyn Bridge (which has a hybrid suspension/cable-stayed design). Construction was originally expected to begin in 2013[12] but was then delayed to winter 2014. About 140 trees were removed on both sides of the bridge in April 2014 in preparation for the rebuilding, though officials say twice the number of trees will be replanted once the bridge's reconstruction is complete.[13]

On May 23, 2014, a $554,770,000 design-build contract was awarded to a team consisting of Skanska, which will be managing partner; Ecco III of Yonkers; Kiewit Corporation of Nebraska; and HNTB of Kansas as the lead design firm.[14][15] It is the largest single contract ever awarded by the New York State Department of Transportation. The work will involve building a new eastbound viaduct to be completed in 2016; the existing eastbound structure will then be demolished. The westbound viaduct will be replaced in a future project.[16] The extra lanes are being built since the Kosciuszko Bridge is known as a notorious traffic bottleneck; according to The New York Times, it is "perhaps the city’s most notorious [bridge], hated and feared by drivers and synonymous in traffic reports with bottlenecks, stop-and-go and general delay."[11]

June 2016, two pylons built
August, deck hanging begun

On December 4, work began on the bridge, which entailed temporarily narrowing the Meeker Avenue entrance on the Brooklyn side on the bridge in order to widen it in the long run. Work was to take place in the daytime, temporarily causing more traffic congestion.[4] By August 2015, the two pylons for the eastbound bridge, as well as part of the bridge structure, were under construction.[17] The new eastbound bridge is expected to open in early 2017, at which time all traffic will be shifted to the new bridge so the original structure can be demolished and replaced with the new westbound bridge.[18]

Controversy[edit]

In 2008, it was discovered that two Native American tribes indigenous to Queens, the Matinecocks and the Canarsies, were not informed of the bridge replacement project under federal law, which infuriated them. The Delaware Nation, in Oklahoma, and the Stockbridge-Munsee, in Wisconsin, both originally native to New York City, were given a month to comment on the bridge project, in addition to the Matinecocks and the Canarsies.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kosciuszko Bridge Project Open House, Introduction on YouTube
  2. ^ Mooney, Jake (February 13, 2009). "Plans and Wary Neighbors for an Icon of Gridlock". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  3. ^ Rafferty, Brian (April 5, 2007). "Bridge Plan Up For Public Approval". Queens Tribune via reprint in the wirednewyork.com Thread: Kosciuszko Bridge. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  4. ^ a b Eli Rosenberg (4 December 2014). "Reconstruction work on the 75-year-old Kosciuszko Bridge will create added gridlock on a major road leading to the span". NY Daily News. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes 2008" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. March 2010. p. 97. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anonymous. "Meeker Avenue Bridge Opened." Queens Borough. Aug. 1939.
  7. ^ a b c d Anonymous. "His Mistake In Joining Navy Instead Of The Army Makes Former Flushing Man Famous As Diver." Long Island Daily Press. 11 OCT. 1938.
  8. ^ a b c Anonymous. "Kosciuszko Bridge Is Named By Mayor." New York Times. 23 SEP. 1940.
  9. ^ a b c d Strong, Otto. "$100M Bridge Relief?" NEWSDAY. 25 MAY. 1995.
  10. ^ Angelos, James (April 10, 2009). "Uneasily Contemplating the Arrival of a Spiffy Newcomer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  11. ^ a b Newman, Andy (February 18, 2010). "A Tired Old Bridge Gets a New Look. No, Four of Them.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  12. ^ Chinese, Vera (April 25, 2012). "Construction on new Kosciuszko Bridge to begin in 2013, a year ahead of schedule". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  13. ^ Furfaro, Danielle (2014-04-03). "DOT chopped 53 trees to save Northern long-eared bat Kosciuszko Bridge pain • The Brooklyn Paper". Brooklynpaper.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Check Out These Renderings for the New Kosciuszko Bridge". Curbed NY. 
  15. ^ "This is What the Kosciuszko Bridge Could Look Like". DNAinfo New York. 
  16. ^ "Kosciuszko Bridge Project root page". NYSDOT. 
  17. ^ https://www.dot.ny.gov/portal/page/portal/kbridge/repository/Key-August-2015-Construction-Activities.pdf
  18. ^ https://www.dot.ny.gov/kbridge/repository/Fall-2015-%20Newsletter.pdf
  19. ^ Lavinger, John. "Bridge to a Troubled Past: Kosciuszko plans reopen old wounds for 2 Native American Tribes." NY Daily News. 18 NOV. 2008.

External links[edit]