NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Welcomed relief is on the way for the nearly 200,000 commuters who use the clogged, decaying Kosciuszko Bridge — a new span is scheduled to open in April.
CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer got a behind the scenes look as Governor Andrew Cuomo offered up some “explosive” news.
Cuomo met with the team building the new Kosciuszko Bridge, an outdated 78-year-old span that gives new meaning to the term traffic tie-ups. Yet as the $555 million first phase nears completion, the Governor tells CBS2 that blowing up parts of the bridge is exactly what he’s going to do at some point this summer.
The governor says the demolition will save seven to nine months.
When the project is completed in 2020, it will actually be two bridges connecting Brooklyn and Queens — one in each direction. Luckily for commuters, their relief comes in April because when the first bridge is done, traffic will be rerouted and the old bridge will go up in smoke.
“Think of it from the commuter’s point of view,” the governor said. “Every day matters, so let’s find out a way to get it done.”
Cuomo has been on a rebuilding tear, from the new Tappan Zee Bridge, to new airports, to the new 2nd Avenue subway. But for him, this bridge is personal. As a kid, he drove over it with his dad — former Governor Mario Cuomo. Even then, he says, it was a nightmare.
“He would bang the steering wheel because it was always packed,” he says, “it was always annoying.”
Checking on the project with his team, the governor rattled off flaws in the old, rusting bridge — which was originally build for 10,000 cars, not the 185,000 that use it now — including the steep grade which is difficult for trucks to maneuver.
While the debate on just how to pronounce “Kosciuszko” may continue for another 78 years, Cuomo says he’s keeping the old name with the new bridge.
In addition to alleviating congestion, the new bridge will also have LED lights so the colors can be changed for special events.