If you have ever traveled the BQE between Brooklyn and Queens, you have passed over the Kosciuszko Bridge. This truss, which is known for frequent traffic jams, is embarking on a new era. In April, the first side of the new structure opened to motorists. In the coming years, the bridge is expected to reduce traffic by as much as 65 percent during rush hour.
The New Kosciuszko Bridge
The recently-completed Kosciuszko Bridge is the first vehicular cable-stayed bridge in New York City. On April 27, Governor Andrew Cuomo took the first ride across the span in a car once driven by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Currently, three lanes of traffic are open in each direction. The second phase of the project will reduce congestion even further by creating more lanes. The whole bridge is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
- The new bridge will cost $555 million.
- The structure is the first major bridge built in New York City in 50 years.
- The new crossing is built to last for about 100 years.
The Old Brooklyn-Queens Crossing
The Old Kosciuszko Bridge was built over the Newtown Creek between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Maspeth, Queens.
- The old truss is now 78 years old.
- The Kosciuszko was built to transport about 10,000 cars per day.
- Today, roughly 180,000 drivers cross it daily.
The old Kosciuszko Bridge will be permanently closed. Although the initial plan was to implode the truss, it will be taken down piece by piece starting this summer.
Who was Thaddeus Kosciuszko?
The bridge’s namesake, Thaddeus (Tadeusz) Kosciuszko, was born in 1746. He was a Polish freedom fighter and engineer, who played a pivotal role in a key battle in the Revolutionary War. Kosciuszko was an engineer, who designed the American defense in the 1777 Battles of Saratoga.
Even though he died in 1817, the freedom fighter’s name will continue to live on into the next century.