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New York's rebuilt Kosciuszko Bridge makes its big debut

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Courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Flickr

At 11:30 p.m. last night, the first set of vehicles crossed the newly opened Kosciuszko bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Queens. In anticipation of that opening, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office held a grand opening ceremony Thursday afternoon replete with a marching band, a parade, and a host of elected officials from both Brooklyn and Queens.

Governor Cuomo saved the grandest entrance for himself however, riding in on a 1932 Packard that was owned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This current span of the new Kosciuszko bridge features three lanes on each side, and is located to the east of the old Kosciuszko bridge. The latter will be demolished in July to make way for the second new span of the bridge, which is expected to be built by 2020.

Once that section is complete, the bridge unveiled today will serve Queens-bound traffic, and the other section will serve Brooklyn-bound commuters. The first section cost $555 million to build, and the second phase is expected to cost upwards of $200 million.

UPDATE 4/28/17—Checkout the light show that lit up the official opening of the Kosciuszko Bridge last night.

It’s the first cable-stayed bridge ever to be built in New York City, and also the city’s first new bridge to be built in 53 years. The need for new infrastructure is something Cuomo stressed multiple times during his comments at the opening of the bridge.

“For too long we have been relying on the legacy of our grandparents,” he said. “If you want to continue to grow and lead then you have to continue to build.” He pointed to the January opening of the Second Avenue Subway, and the ongoing revamps of John F. Kennedy Airport and LaGuardia Airport as markers of a push towards major new infrastructural development.

The Kosciuszko Bridge’s official opening later tonight will be celebrated with an LED light show on the bridge, that will be synced to music playing on several iHeartRadio stations. “The New York Harbor of Lights,” as this first show is known, will be the first among many light shows to take place during special events at all of the city’s bridges by 2018. Skanksa USA was the lead partner in the Skanska-Kiewit-ECCO construction team on the project.