Bridge coming down

The Brooklyn Paper
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Efforts to preserve Greenpoint’s aging Kosciuszko Bridge crumbled last week, giving the state the green light to repair or replace Brooklyn’s hard-to-spell roadway.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation abandoned its mission to save the tongue-twisting, traffic-ensnarled bridge that carries the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway from Greenpoint to Maspeth, Queens.

“There are no prudent and feasible alternatives to the demolition of this historic bridge,” said Beth Cumming, a Parks official. “We find that correction of many of the substandard safety features would significantly alter character-defining features of the bridge.”

For many drivers, the Kosciuszko’s only character-defining features are its steep on and off ramps, lurching truck traffic, narrow or non-existent shoulders, poor sight lines, and inadequate drainage –– shortcomings that the DOT now plans to fix.

The city built the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge in 1939, naming the viaduct after the 18th-century Polish general fought with the American colonists during the Revolutionary War.

At the time, large ships still plied Newtown Creek, forcing engineers to use steep approaches on either side of the span. A new, lower bridge would make it easier for trucks to maintain their speed, lessening traffic, according to the DOT.

There would also be a bike lane and a walking path — improvements that are not possible on the existing bridge.

“We’re pleased with the direction that things are going,” said Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito, who looks forward to a day when traffic from the Meeker Avenue entrance ramp won’t stretch all the way to Kingsland Avenue.

Construction will not start until 2011 at the earliest. The bridge will retain its name, much to the chagrin of copy editors everywhere.

Updated 12:23 pm, February 25, 2015
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