Boom! You can watch the old Kosciuszko Bridge blow up. Anyone who endured decades of traffic jams on this span over Newtown Creek linking Brooklyn and Queens will enjoy seeing the 78-year-old bridge come down. And anyone who never had the pleasure will still enjoy the two-and-a-half minute plus video, spectacularly shot by a drone camera.
Demolition workers with Controlled Demolition set 944 linear-shaped explosives on the old bridge. They had weakened it by making 1600 cuts in the steel at strategic points. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the explosives manufacturer “confirmed” the blasts would not spew hazardous bi-products into the air.
The old hulking metal Kosciuszko Bridge rose 110 feet above the creek and was built for 10,000 cars a day. In recent years, more than 180,000 vehicles a day passed over it, mostly very slowly or at a crawl.
A new, delicate, cable-stay bridge replaced the old truss bridge in April 2017. A twin span, still under construction, will complete the replacement project. Ultimately, it will provide provide twelve much-needed lanes for traffic on Interstate 278, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known to us locals as the BQE. The new, like the old, directly links Maspeth, Queens to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The first bridge to span the creek went up in 1803 and for a long while it cost a penny to cross it. In 1939, it was replaced by the one that just came down at a cost of $6 million. Originally, it was called the Meeker Avenue Bridge. A year later, Mayor Fiorella La Guardia led a ceremony to rename it in honor of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish volunteer and general in the U.S. Revolutionary War.
Whether it’s the old or the new, we should point out that the often maddeningly slow ride across the Kosciuszko Bridge and the BQE offers a spectacular view of the New York skyline that always thrills those of us who love the city.