Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Incident Raises Question: Are NYC Bridges Safe?

City Agencies Play Blame Game Over Falling Debris; Former Mayor Speaks Out

LONG ISLAND CITY (CBSNewYork) — There was more fallout Thursday stemming from an incident two days earlier when falling debris landed on a car on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

As city and state agencies appear to fight over responsibility, the former mayor, himself, weighed in.

“I love the bridge,” Ed Koch said Thursday.

The bridge is the focus of an investigation into why a bolt and bracket crashed onto a car Tuesday night.

The rusty pieces did quite a number on Andrew Campbell’s prized Mercedes on the Queens side of the bridge.

“I’m a little nervous about using the bridges right now,” said Campbell, a Bergenfield, N.J. resident.

“Before I thought it was safe, now I don’t know what to think,” added Josh Kagzanov of Franklin Square on Long Island.

“It may happen next time,” said Barry Ghiarno of the Soundview section of the Bronx.

On Thursday, CBS 2’s Carlin returned to the bridge, where inspectors were re-checking bolts and brackets. City and state officials appear to be at odds over who is responsible.

City Department of Transportation officials say it appears to them the debris came from an adjacent subway structure that belongs to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. However, MTA officials told Carlin there is no proof of that. Both sides refused to answer CBS 2’s questions on camera.

As the two investigations continue, the most important puzzle pieces remain in Campbell’s driveway. Neither agency has retrieved them.

Koch just wants answers about his bridge.

“I’m concerned about anything that relates to that bridge,” the former mayor said.

Koch defended the city’s bridge maintenance efforts, saying a strict schedule for upkeep and repairs is in place and started back when he was mayor.

“I am told by the city that they are all in very good shape,” Koch said.

Bridge expert Michel Ghosn of City College said a bolt or bracket falling from a bridge does not mean the structure is compromised.

“They have a lot of safety and they have redundancy because you have many members helping carry the load,” Ghosn said.

But he said this is a wake-up call that bridge budgets must be bolstered, to make sure inspections and renovations don’t fall behind.

The DOT said the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge has undergone more than $400 million in upgrades over the past 10 years. It is part of a $5 billion investment in bridges citywide.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • Tommy

    They should put a toll on that bridge and use the money to maintain the bridge.

    • Jeff

      That’s a good idea. Bridges with tolls tend to be in better condition than those without tolls.

      • willow

        wow tommy and jeff you guys are smart

  • Da Capo Fin

    Koch with his always inflated ego when Mayor had a rent control apartment
    while getting rid of fair rents for we poor working class people aka Rent Control.
    Look at rents now as Koch gave his buddies at the Temple free reign to make
    this city segregated not by race but by money ,Now one has to buy an apartment
    or have 3 living in an apt.and for help in paying the outrageous rent .Thats what Koch is and did for we poor paycheck to paycheck folks.
    He was even talking on TV about the tomb he built himself on the glorious day
    when he drops dead. That day I will celebrate.

  • michaelfury
  • Danny
  • PETE

    Repairing the bridges always was a cash-cow and big racket for the NYC Buildings Mafia. The bridges are all in disrepair and the inspectors were paid off handsomely over the past several decades. Koch was right in the middle of that swindle, what is he talking about? His bridge is his life, falling apart because of corruption and neglect.

  • Christie: will this porkball ever stop eating?


  • Gary J Zielinski

    He did only Good for NYC and still gives EVERY DAY for Public service in some way. Did you know when he got out of hospital 2 years ago Mike Bloomberg Picked him up and they went out for a Duck Dinner at Hung Fat’s in chinatown?.He is a Great person and should have SOMETHING named after him.If you Would ever meet him in Person you would Change your View’s Thank You Ed Kotch for being a GREAT AMERICAN, Gary Zielinski

    • PETE

      Stop kissing ass! The guy can not get you a raise or a job anymore, doing nothing.

    • BF

      Hey Gary, if you love Koch so much, how come you spelled his name wrong?

  • Kieran Kelly

    The bracket and lag bolt in the photo are the property of the MTA . They are used to secure the rail ties to the top flange of beams on an elevated section.
    Another clue as to their ownershil is the paint color . All the steel for the MTA’s
    elevated structures in Queen’s Plaza is painted green.

    KJK- Local 361 Union Ironworker

  • Tom

    We need to invest in our infrastructure now!!

  • Liberals Are Evil

    See what happens when you rename a bridge after an old fruit cake! Queensboro sounded so much nicer!

    • Don Juan

      Agreed . . . but Koch is no liberal.

    • Tom

      Stop pretending that conservatives aren’t evil at all.

  • Bridge to nowhere

    where and when was the referendum on naming the bridge The Ed Koch Bridge? I liked the man as Mayor, but really?

    • 59th St Bridge

      It was payback for political favor from Bloomberg.

  • Bullett

    All bridges in NYC are safe; so long as you don’t need to use them!

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