Tag Archives: Kosciuszko Bridge

Kosciuszko Bridge project will cause long-term closure of Maspeth roadway

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Work crews will shut down a Maspeth street for six months beginning next week as construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge begins in earnest, according to the state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

A one-block portion of 54th Avenue between Laurel Hill Boulevard and 43rd Street in industrial west Maspeth will be closed around-the-clock on or about Monday, Aug. 17, and will remain off limits through February 2016.

The eastern end of the existing Kosciuszko Bridge — which carries the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) over Newtown Creek — passes over this portion of 54th Avenue.

In an advisory, the NYSDOT indicated the closure is required in order for contractors to partially remove an existing BQE viaduct, then install new underground utilities and girders and an abutment wall for the new bridge.

As alternate routes, drivers who normally head eastbound on 54th Avenue should instead turn east on 54th Road from Laurel Hill Boulevard, then north on 43rd Street to 54th Avenue. Drivers heading west from 54th Avenue should turn south on 43rd Street, then west on 54th Road to Laurel Hill Boulevard.

The closure will not affect service on the Q67 side, which has a bus stop in the area. Buses heading westbound will follow the westbound detour route, according to the NYSDOT.

The existing Kosciuszko Bridge. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The existing Kosciuszko Bridge. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The $555 million project to replace the existing bridge — an obsolete structure notorious for traffic jams and accidents due, in part, to its narrow configuration — will be completed in two phases. First, the NYSDOT will build a cable-stayed suspension bridge adjacent to the existing bridge on its eastbound side.

Once the first place is completed, all BQE traffic will be shifted onto the new span, and crews will then demolish the existing bridge. A second cable-stayed bridge will be erected in the original bridge’s footprint.

A rendering of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. (File photo)

A rendering of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. (File photo)

The new twin-span Kosciuszko Bridge will feature wider traffic lanes and a joint bike and walking path. The project also includes the creation of new parks and open spaces below the bridge on both sides of the creek.

Click here for more information about the project.



Detectives talk woman out of jumping off Kosciuszko Bridge

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A pair of NYPD detectives spent around two hours Monday talking a suicidal woman off the edge of the Kosciuszko Bridge, according to police.

That morning, police arrived about 11:30 a.m. to find the 45-year-old Brooklyn resident on top of a pipe on the outside of the bridge, which connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with Queens.

Two detectives—Meghan Kinsella, a 14-year veteran who works as a domestic violence officer, and Steven Stefanakos, a 24-year veteran who has spent 20 of those years with the Emergency Service Unit—moved into action to try to talk the woman out of taking her life.

At first, according to police, the woman wasn’t responsive to either of the detectives as they took turns engaging her in conversation.

“I tried to convince her that no matter what, we would be with her every step of the way,” Kinsella said. “He would talk and I would talk. I didn’t even realize I was there for two hours. I was completely focused on her.”

When Stefanakos, who is an instructor with the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit and teaches officers how to interact with emotionally disturbed people in crisis, mentioned the possibility of the woman having a family or children, she grabbed back onto the wire, authorities said.

“I told her, ‘I don’t know what is going on and what is happening with you, but give us [a] chance to talk to you,’” he said.

Kinsella also told the woman, who is a mother of one, that she was strong enough to get through the situation, and the detectives were finally able to convince her to come off the edge of the bridge.

As video footage of the rescue released by police shows, officers were able to pull the woman to safety, and EMS took her to Elmhurst Hospital for treatment.

“It’s a huge relief. It actually is euphoric because you made a difference in somebody’s life, right there and then,” Stefanakos said.

“I’m a mom so I just wanted to get her home safe with her family,” Kinsella added.


New Kosciuszko Bridge construction update

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

The state Department of Transportation has issued a construction advisory regarding the initial phases of the new Kosciuszko Bridge project.

The bulk of the work affects side streets on both sides of the span in Greenpoint and west Maspeth, including new water mains, gas lines, electrical wires and storm/sewer pipes.

Crews from Con Edison and Verizon will also install duct banks on 56th Road, which will cause traffic to intermittently be shifted to the right and left. The road, however, will remain open to two-way traffic at all times.

Due to the continued removal of the red brick and concrete walls underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) between Sutton and Apollo Streets, one lane of westbound Meeker Avenue between these limits will remain closed through the summer of 2015 to facilitate the removal of the wall and the subsequent rebuilding.

Other work includes the restriping of eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter Avenues, to create a work zone. This is required to access the roadway deck and low wall along the edge of the Queens-bound BQE that must be removed.

This work, scheduled to being on or about March 23, will involve the placement of a concrete barrier along the Queens-bound BQE and a traffic lane shift on eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter avenues. Intermittent lane closures during daytime and evening hours will be required.

Advanced notices for specific activities will be distributed to residents and businesses prior to the start of work. The construction schedule is weather permitting and subject to change.

The more than $500 million project involves the construction of two new cable-stayed suspension bridges to replace the existing, aging steel-truss span. The first new bridge will be erected adjacent to the south side of the existing bridge and is scheduled to open in late 2016.

Once the first new span is complete, all BQE traffic will be shifted onto it, and crews will begin demolishing the old bridge. The second cable-stayed span will rise in the original bridge’s footprint; it is expected to be completed by 2019.

For more information, visit www.dot.ny.gov/kbridge or email kosciuszko@dot.ny.gov.


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Overcast. Fog early. High of 54. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 41. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Public Library book event with NYT author Carl Weber

Carl Weber is a Queens native and a New York Times bestselling author. Join him as he celebrates the release of his latest book, “The Man in 3B,” with refreshments and big fun at the Queens Central Library on January 29 at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

MTA delays new system that will replace MetroCards with ‘smart’ debit or credit cards

The MTA is delaying implementation of a new fare-payment system that will replace the MetroCard. Read more: New York Daily News

More non-union school bus drivers spark heated protests

A heated protest is expected Tuesday morning over New York City’s ongoing school bus strike. Read more: ABC New York

State seeking suitors to build new Kosciuszko Bridge

State officials are creating a short-list of suitors that will get a chance to reshape a vital link between Brooklyn and Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

New FEMA flood maps double number of local at-risk homes

Some New Yorkers who saw their homes badly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will have to rebuild three to six feet above their house’s current level. Read more: NY1

Ex-Mayor Ed Koch re-hospitalized after 2 days

he spokesman for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch says he’s been re-admitted to the hospital two days after he was released. Read more: ABC New York

Some New York City restaurants ban food photography by customers

If you’re one of the thousands of people who snap pictures of your food and instantly share them on social media, you might be surprised to learn that some restaurants are now banning photos of their food. Read more: CBS New York

Obama launches push for immigration overhaul

Seeking swift action on immigration, President Barack Obama on Tuesday will try to rally public support behind his proposals for giving millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, as well as making improvements to the legal immigration system and border security. Read more: AP

Kosciuszko Bridge connecting Queens and Brooklyn to be replaced

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Kosciuszko Bridge will soon be falling down — and an entirely revamped bridge will be built in its place.

“The bridge is over 70 years old,” said Adam Levine, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT). “It’s in constant need of repairs at this point.”

Those who use the bridge connecting Queens to Brooklyn are familiar with its heavy traffic. Built in the 1930s, the bridge was constructed at an elevated level to allow tall-masted ships to pass under it via Newtown Creek. Those ships don’t typically operate anymore, according to Levine.

“The bridge is really just higher than it needs to be,” he said.

The heightened structure is hard for trucks to accelerate and decelerate, creating a build-up of traffic. A new and efficient structure, 45 feet lower than the original, is on its way.

For Phase 1 of the project, a new cable-stayed Queens-bound structure will be built parallel to the existing bridge, with adequate width to accommodate all traffic. Phase 2 will see construction of the Brooklyn-bound side, and the original Kosciuszko Bridge will be torn down. Connections to local roads and the Long Island Expressway will be included in the new design as well.

Project development began over a decade ago, and members of the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Committee, the DOT and other community organizations have finally been granted approval to operate on an accelerated schedule. A design-build team should be contracted by spring of this year – a full 18 months earlier than expected – under the NY Works program.

More information on the project can be found at dot.ny.gov/kbridge.




Kosciuszko Bridge replacement fast-tracked

| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Kosciuszko Bridge is getting a much-needed facelift.

The deteriorating bridge — which connects Queens and Brooklyn — was scheduled to be replaced beginning in 2014, but the state announced those plans have been fast-tracked, thanks to the recently-launched New York Works Program.

Construction on the $460 million project will begin by early next year and will be ready for traffic before 2017, three years ahead of what was originally scheduled.

Built in 1939, the aging bridge has been named one of the worst in the city by numerous publications.

The new structure will also feature three additional lanes of traffic, helping to alleviate an often congested span that results in more than quadruple accident rates, according to a report.

The New York Works program, signed into law recently by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of this year’s state budget, will invest billions of dollars to rebuild the state’s roads, bridges, parks and other infrastructure and create tens of thousands of jobs.

“This significant investment will rebuild the foundation of the region’s economy and create thousands of jobs for New Yorkers,” the governor said.

Maspeth man sues state after not receiving eminent domain funds

| brennison@queenscourier.com

A Maspeth businessman who claims he still has not received payment from the state — nearly a year after his land was seized through Eminent Domain — is suing.

Sass Sheena’s property along 43rd Avenue in Maspeth was appropriated by the state as part of the redevelopment of the Kosciuszko Bridge. While the land was taken in June, Sheena, 49, says that he is yet to receive the money for his property.

“They have my building and now I’m having a hard time getting paid,” he said. “For me it’s a hardship.”

The money, more than $2.8 million, has been placed in a comptroller’s account. Sheena filed a suit in January.

According to Sheena’s lawyer, Michael Rikon, the state can place the funds in a comptroller’s account only if there is a conflict.

“A conflict exists when two or more parties claim the money in a title dispute. That’s not the case here,” Rikon said. “There is no question who the owner is.”

A Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson said that the agency placed the funds in the account based on a the attorney general office’s decision.

Since the building was appropriated nine months ago, Sheena has had no source of income. His income previously came from rent from the tenants on his Maspeth property.

“Obviously you want the money from your property so you can reinvest or go into another business,” said Sheena, who is married with four children. “It’s unjust what they’re doing.”

Rikon said the state deposited the money into the account without notifying his client. A separate lawsuit must be filed to determine if there are any other claims on the money.

This is going on throughout the state, said Rikon, whose firm has been handling Eminent Domain cases for nearly 90 years.

“It is incredible how they’ve gotten away with what they been doing, it’s extortion,” he said.

Letters had been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo while he was attorney general and to Senator Chuck Schumer, but nothing has been done as of yet, Rikon claims.

Work is scheduled to begin on the Kosciuszko Bridge in the summer of 2014.