Kosciuszko Bridge to open second span — ahead of schedule, on budget

Gov. Andrew Cuomo meets with construction workers on the Kosciuszko Bridge on Sunday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo meets with construction workers on the Kosciuszko Bridge on Sunday. Photo Credit: Florian Koenigsberger

The second span of the state’s new Kosciuszko Bridge will open Thursday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

In addition to significantly expanding vehicular traffic lanes and shoulders, the addition of the second span also includes a 20-foot-wide walking and cycling path. Pedestrians and cyclists can get an early preview of the completed cable-stayed bridge on Wednesday during a pathway opening between noon and 6 p.m.

Cuomo took the opportunity of the span’s opening to knock the Trump administration’s border wall.

"While the federal administration obsesses over building walls, in New York we are building bridges and other infrastructure critical to moving our 21st century economy forward," Cuomo said in a statement. "With the opening of the second span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge … we will once again demonstrate to the nation that it’s possible to take on big projects and to get them done on time and on budget."

The entire second span will officially open before rush hour, “early” Thursday morning, according to a news release from the governor. With the second half of the bridge in service, the Kosciuszko will offer five lanes on the Queens-bound side and four lanes — along with a pedestrian and cycling path — on the Brooklyn-bound side, along with new shoulders.

The state had squeezed three lanes of traffic running in each direction onto the first span, which opened back in April 2017. The old, 78-year-old Kosciuszko was demolished in the fall of that year — a televised event that drew cheers from New Yorkers who reflected on the accumulated time they had wasted sitting in traffic on the notoriously congested bridge over Newtown Creek. Cuomo hosted New Yorkers in Greenpoint to watch the old span implode before taking a boat into the water to get a closer look

The new Kosciuszko is 35 feet lower, which the Cuomo administration believes will help reduce congestion by making it easier for larger trucks to maintain consistent speeds. But transportation experts have warned for years that improving mass transit, not adding highway lanes, is the best way to reduce traffic.

And while Cuomo’s news release boasts that the new biking and pedestrian path will offer “spectacular” views of Manhattan, the bridge connects industrial sections of both boroughs that are split by a federally designated Superfund site.

Cuomo toured the bridge on Sunday and left his handprint in drying cement along with his signature, “A. CUOMO Andrew.”