It’s official: The second, Brooklyn-bound span of the Kosciuszko Bridge is now open to commuters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with a bevy of city and state officials, celebrated the bridge’s opening yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the afternoon, and a larger reception in the evening. The nighttime event was also a chance to show off the bridge’s light show, which was accompanied by a performance from Cuomo BFF Billy Joel, which was broadcast live from Madison Square Garden.
“Today isn’t just about a new bridge that is smart, functional, on-budget and done early - it’s also about what this bridge symbolizes,” Cuomo said. “At a time when we have so much negativity, frustration and anger in this country, this bridge is an example of what government and society can do when you focus on the positive.”
The new pass—which is 952 feet long, with 287-foot-high concrete towers and one million feet of steel cables—is expected relieve some of the traffic over the Brooklyn-Queens border. According to Cuomo’s office, delays on this stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway are expected to drop by 65 percent. 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—although cyclists are unhappy with the approaches to that pathway, which one rider described to the New York Post as “a little like playing ‘Frogger,’”
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.