NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was the end of an era in New York City as the remaining parts of the old Kosciuszko Bridge came down for good Sunday morning, the latest step in a highly anticipated project that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has personally been waiting for.
Watch The Live Feed Of The Demolition Below:
“The Kosciuszko Bridge had to be replaced,” the governor said ahead of the demolition. “It was 78-years-old, the structural integrity was questioned, it was built to handle one-quarter of the volume, it is a legendary bottleneck in the city of New York, and it has been for decades.”
The first newly constructed span opened to drivers in April, carrying three lanes of traffic in each direction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway until the second span is completed. It’s something Cuomo says is long overdue.
“We would bang the steering wheel because it was always packed, it was always annoying,” the governor told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer earlier this year. The governor recalled the traffic woes the outdated span caused when he was a kid, riding with his father.
Officials say the new bridge is meant to change that.
“Think of it from the commuter’s point of view,” he told CBS2. “Every day matters, so lets find out a way to get it done.”
He says Sunday’s demolition will help speed up construction of the new bridge by “seven to nine months.”
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, the 20 trusses — 10 from each side of the bridge and a total of 3,100 feet in length — in addition to 22 million pounds of steel were taken down to make way for the second span of the new bridge.
Explosives were strategically placed to cut key steel connections.
While officials say the long-term project is meant to eventually help ease congestion, Sunday morning was a slightly different story as several roads were be closed during the demolition.
The Kosciuszko Bridge was closed from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., plus roads leading to the bridge were closed at 4 a.m. and reopened at 9:30 a.m.
Traffic on the BQE was also stopped for five to ten minutes before the demolition starts and resumed shortly after.
Governor Cuomo And Officials Deliver Remarks Before Sunday’s Controlled Demolition
The controlled demolition took place just before 8 a.m.
The millions of pounds of metal collected from the old bridge will be hauled off as scrap. Officials expect construction on the new span to be completed by 2019.
“We can do still big things and we can still do cool things,” Cuomo said. “New York is still New York. Don’t doubt us. We haven’t lost our mojo.”