Kosciuszko rising: New bridge takes shape over Newtown Creek

Kosciuszko rising: New bridge takes shape over Newtown Creek
Photo by Jason Speakman

It is a bridge over surprisingly calm waters.

The towers that will hold up the new Kosciuszko Bridge are now looming over the Newtown Creek a year after workers began erecting them, which state road officials say is right on schedule — and they seem as surprised as anyone that such a massive project hasn’t hit a road-bump.

“We are just amazed at how smoothly everything is going, and the fact that we’re on time and on budget is just wonderful,” said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Park.

The enormous pillars, which are still rising next to the existing bridge that carries Brooklyn-Queens Expressway drivers from Greenpoint to the northern hinterlands of Queens, will eventually peak at 275-feet — around the height of the Statue of Liberty.

The towers will frame the first of two new bridges that will funnel expressway traffic across the creek. That span should be up and running at the beginning of 2017, at which point workers will demolish the existing 1930s antique and kick of construction of a second bridge, which is slated for completion in 2020.

Once both three-lane spans are complete, the first will become a one-way Queens-bound bridge while the second will serve only Brooklyn-bound traffic.

Contractors are now readying the land near the new bridge for construction. The state is relocating part of Cherry Street — which previously ran just under the expressway — further south, and has begun moving new sewers and electrical lines, Park said.

Officials have shut down Sgt. William Dougherty Playground at the corner of Cherry Street and Vandervoort Avenue during construction and won’t reopen the park until late 2017 at the earliest — which has angered locals who say the already green-space-starved neighborhood can’t afford to lose any more parkland.

To make up for the closure, the state promised in May that it will expand and gussy up the garden before it reopens, building a new skate park, basketball and handball courts, and a playground.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobb[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.