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
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.
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.
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.