The state wants you to choose your own billion-dollar bridge!
Department of Transportation representatives publicly unveiled four design options for the long-awaited new Kosciuszko Bridge last night in Queens — and the road worriers want local input before settling on one.
It’s essentially an aesthetic question, as each design — a cable-stayed stunner, a nifty arch, an arched deck and a flat-out dull box girder design — would consist of nine lanes instead of the current six, an actual shoulder, and a bike and pedestrian lane.
Many users said that they didn’t care what it would look like, as long as it eliminates the bridge’s notorious steep incline.
“I was a trucker, and we have to take our time trying to accelerate on that steep bridge,” said Guy Russo, a regular bridge user. “Whichever design they choose will be a lot less steep, which will make the traffic flow way better.”
To vote for your pick, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed 1.1-mile bridge — which workers would start building in 2013 — ballooned in cost from $700 million to $1 billion last year due to a longer build-out time, said Robert Adams, project manager with the DOT.
And it could change again.
“This is a price tag that we project for its completion in 2017 — it could change with the cost of materials,” he said.
The four designs offer the same support and safety, with different appeal: the concrete cable-stayed bridge resembles a Modernist take on the Brooklyn Bridge; the simple, highway-like box girder would maintain a nice view of Manhattan; the crescent arch design is similar to the Bayonne Bridge; and the deck arch is basically a more stylish box girder.
Regardless of the design chosen this fall, questions at the meeting echoed one demand from drivers: get it done. The current span is constantly in gridlock, with 160,000 daily drivers pushing through at on- and off-ramps to create two slow, impromptu lanes. Adams said all these ailments will be cured.
He also dropped a small bombshell when he mentioned that all funding for the project — 80-percent of which will be covered by the federal government — is lined up.
There had been concerns last year after the Kosciuszko Bridge wasn’t mentioned in Gov. Paterson’s $25.8-billion capital package.
“We have all the funding in our five- and 10-year budget plans,” Adams said. “We’re going to move ahead.”
The refurbished, now 60-year-old bridge would last another 100 years and keep the same name — after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, an instrumental Polish general in the American Revolutionary War.
Another informational session will be held in Greenpoint on Feb. 24.
Kosciuszko Bridge open house at St. Cecilia’s Church [84 Herbert St. between North Henry and Monitor streets, (718) 482-4683]. Presentations are at 3:30 and 6:30 pm. For info, visit www.nysdot.gov. To vote on your favorite design, e-mail email@example.com