NEW YORK CITY—In what state officials say was the first implosion of a major bridge in New York City, contractors on Sunday morning successfully took down approximately three-quarters of a mile of the old Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens.
State and city officials were on hand for the implosion that involved approximately 22 million pounds of steel. The implosion process called “energetic felling” was part of the $873 million Kosciuszko Bridge project, which is replacing the former 78-year-old bridge with two new state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridges.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who opened the first span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge this past April, officiated the energetic felling of the bridge that first opened in 1939. The implosion completed the $555-million first phase of the project, the largest single contract the New York State Department of Transportation has ever undertaken.
“After years of stagnation and stunted ambition, we are building across the state bigger and better than before, and the energetic felling of the old bridge to make way for the new, on budget and ahead of schedule bridge, showcases our renewed commitment to building new, inspiring infrastructure for the future,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The new cable-stayed bridge is a monument that brings people together, straddling two boroughs that have welcomed generations of immigrants from all over the globe.”
The new Queens-bound bridge is carrying three travel lanes in each direction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway until the second Brooklyn-bound span is completed under a separate phase two contract, valued at $318 million. When the new bridge is complete, there will be five Queens-bound travel lanes of the BQE and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes, for a total of nine lanes. In addition, there will be a 20-foot-wide multi-use trail. The bridge carries approximately 200,000 commuters daily.
A total of 944 charges placed by contractor Controlled Demolition, Inc. successfully caused 20 steel truss spans to drop—10 spans on the Brooklyn approach and 10 spans on the Queens approach of the bridge. The former bridge’s main span over Newton Creek was lowered onto a barge and removed on July 25.
The Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project was expedited by the Cuomo administration and will be completed four years ahead of its original schedule.