Bridge of sighs? New Kosciuszko could cost local jobs

The Brooklyn Paper
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Replacing Greenpoint’s decaying Kosciuszko Bridge might make the roadway safer for drivers, but reconstructing the overpass could also displace more than a dozen local businesses from the shadow of the span.

In order to build a safer, wider and more modern bridge connecting Greenpoint and Queens, the state might relocate 15 properties — potentially dislocating some 180 workers — through its power of condemnation.

Workers won’t begin demolishing the old bridge until 2013, but state Department of Transportation officials will start negotiating to acquire properties in its footprint starting in two months, spokesman Adam Levine told The Brooklyn Paper.

Levine added that the state aims to keep the relocated Greenpoint businesses in Greenpoint.

“A lot of these businesses have employees who live locally … and we are doing everything we can to keep everybody within the neighborhood, and if not in the neighborhood, somewhere close by, and certainly within the borough,” he noted.

But some of the businesses directly below the traffic-choked truss bridge that carries the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway from Greenpoint to Maspeth, Queens, doubt the state will be able to find them another North Brooklyn location.

“It’s a disaster,” said John Iacono, operations manager at Citywide Demolition on Anthony Street, which maintains two yards in the shadow of the tongue-twisting bridge.

“We need the yards for work — there’s no other spaces around here,” he said.

If the state cannot find Citywide Demolition a new home for its yards in Greenpoint, Iacono said he might be forced to lay off workers.

“We employ 10 guys on those yards. If we close the yards, they ain’t going have a job,” he said.

The risk to local businesses is worth the reward to motorists, said Amy Cleary, a spokeswoman for state Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint).

“Nobody wants to take anybody’s property by eminent domain — but the bottom line is that the bridge needs to be replaced,” said Cleary, who insisted that her office is fighting to keep local businesses in the neighborhood.

The Kosciuszko, infamous for its steep incline and decline, was built in 1939 to accommodate large ships passing below on the once-bustling Newtown Creek. The new plans call for a lower bridge that would provide drivers with more visibility and make it easier for trucks to maintain their speed, lessening traffic, according to transportation planners.

The $700-million proposal also calls for widening the roadway from six lanes to nine lanes and adding a walking path and bike lane to the span, which is named after the 18th-century Polish general who fought with the American colonists during the Revolutionary War.

The state also plans to build small parks, which will include boat launches into Newtown Creek, beside the new bridge. The creek is currently being considered for by federal officials for placement on the national “Superfund” list of toxic sites.

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

MikeB says:
Speaking as someone actually fighting eminent domain in federal court with Houston-based Spectra Energy, I can confirm that it amounts to legal plunder under the badge of government.

Ultimately, power corrupts; and the power of eminent domain in the hands of government — which is transferred to a business — creates a sense of entitlement; and it creates an atmosphere ripe for abuse.

Nowadays, eminent domain has less to do with projects for the “public good,” and everything to do with the financial good of publicly held companies.

Our group of property owners are happy to share what we've learned with folks fighting similar battles for property rights. For more information, start with our website:
April 24, 2009, 7:26 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
This story has nothing to do with Eminent Domain abuse. It is for a needed public no toll road. While there are some issues of eminent domain abuse in the City of New York(Atlantic Yards is one of them), highways, public schools and etc are not.
April 25, 2009, 9:12 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:

where is the Eminent Domain abuse? Seems to be that the property owners leased/sold the under lying rights to the gas wells which Spectra seems to want to use for storage. It may be that the wells aren't being used for the original purpose but that isn't eminent domain abuse....but you probably know more about it than I do...
April 25, 2009, 9:23 am

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