Weary travelers of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, rejoice: The final span of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which has been under reconstruction for several years running, will open on Thursday, four years ahead of schedule.
“Nobody believed this bridge could be completed in under nine years and we were able to do it in five, and because the local community has everything to do with the construction process, we decided to think outside the box with this new park and open space,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on a Tuesday tour of the new span.
The new pass should relieve some of the traffic high over the Brooklyn-Queens border. Since the new bridge’s first span over Newtown Creek debuted in 2017, it has carried three lanes of traffic in each direction. But as of Thursday, the new bridge will add five Brooklyn-bound lanes allowing the first span to be dedicated solely to Queens-bound traffic.
The new span also comes with a 20-foot-wide bike and walking path that will be open to cyclists and pedestrians from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a day before cars and trucks overtake the bridge, the Daily News reports.
The new Kosciuszko suspension bridge replaces a truss bridge of the same name that opened in 1939 and was demolished in October 2017. The new Kosciuszko Bridge is the first bridge built in the city since the Verrazzano-Narrows opened to traffic in 1964. In addition to being completed ahead of schedule, the project is expected to be completed on budget at $873 million.
It will also come with new public space: Cuomo announced that the state will contribute $7 million toward the construction of Under the K, a new seven-acre public park created by the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance. Designed by Canadian firm Public Work, the space will have a linear promenade, spaces for arts and cultural events, a waterfront landscape near the Newtown Creek, and more.
“This new project to transform space under the Kosciuszko Bridge into a public open space is exactly what this community needs,” state assembly member Joseph Lentol, who represents the area, said in a statement. “Not only will this versatile space encourage New Yorkers to spend more time outdoors, it will serve our community through artistic programs, youth programs and entertainment for all ages.”