Saturday, February 20, 2010

Designs Unveiled For Replacement Kosciuszko Bridge

Drivers in New York City are all too aware of the problems with the Kosciuszko Bridge on the Brooklyn-Queens border. It's too narrow, is too steep for truck traffic, and is a bottleneck on a good day, and the condition of the span itself is beyond awful. At times it would appear to be held together by little more than willpower. It handles 160,000 cars daily and is a critical link in the city's highway system.

It's also the worst bridge in New York City and one of the worst in New York State.

Studies to replace the span  that first opened in 1939 have been going on for years, but we're now at a point where designs for the replacement span can be considered. There are four designs under consideration to replace the truss span that is currently there. Each of the designs would consist of a twin span over Newtown Creek with full lane width, breakdown lanes, and modern sight lines.

The four span designs are a box girder, a cable stayed span, deck arch span, and a through arch span. If the issues with the Lake Champlain bridge are a guide, expect that the deck arch span be chosen as a compromise on costs and maintenance costs. Further, the cable stayed span might not be the best choice given the proximity to LaGuardia Airport although it might present a new signature span for the City and present a striking addition to the landscape.

Construction isn't expected to start before 2012, with a completion date likely in 2014 or later.The NYS Department of Transportation is soliciting input on the designs at multiple open house sessions and comes after multiple options were narrowed down to four basic span designs.

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