“Four more years!” is an oft-heard chant in political circles, but here’s case and a hooray for “Four Less Years!” in bridge building circles. The Kosciuszko Bridge opened four years ahead of schedule. On August 29, the second span (the Brooklyn bound section) will bring four more lanes on the bridge open to traffic. The Queens bound span opened on April 28, 2017, and was since used for traveling to and from both boroughs. Now the Kosciuszko Bridge connects Queens and Brooklyn with nines lanes of automotive travel (four lanes Brooklyn-bound, five lanes Queens-bound) and a 20-foot-wide bikeway/walkway. The old Kosciuszko Bridge only had six lanes and not much to write home about in the area of cycling/walking paths.
“The original six-lane bridge was a source of notorious traffic bottlenecks. On the new Kosciuszko Bridge, there are nine wider lanes, a pedestrian and bike path and shoulders – all of which will help reduce traffic by 65 percent and save time for commuters and improve the environment,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This bridge is an example of what government and society can do when you focus on the positive. This is New York State at its best: we built this and we made this happen.”
The new Kosciuszko Bridge is the first major bridge crossing built in New York City since the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic in 1964.
There is still some work to be done. Two days prior to the bridge opening, Gov. Cuomo committed state funding for the completion of the first and second phases of “Under the K” – a transformative Open Space project that will turn nearly seven acres beneath the Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn into a world-class public park. The design of the park revealed in late June shows a series of four distinct spaces: a linear promenade that receives pedestrians and cyclists from along the bridge; a multifunctional zone geared to rotating programming, community activities, and play; a massive space for large public events; a space at the water’s edge with public outlooks, seating, and a restorative landscape of native estuary plantings. In addition to “Under the K” streetscaping enhancements such as decorative lighting, tree plantings, and new sidewalks are being placed on local streets within the project limits of the Kosciuszko Bridge.