Old Kosciuszko Bridge demolition marks 'the end of an era'

It stood for 78 years, but the demolition of the old Kosciuszko Bridge took a matter of minutes.

The bridge was demolished using a process called energetic felling, which required the placement of little charges at key joints on the bridge so that when the charges went off, the bridge broke apart and fell directly down.

A total of 944 line charges were set off within seconds of each other at about 8 a.m. 

The state built berms on the ground beneath the old Kosciuszko to help absorb the shock of the bridge's pieces. About 22 million pounds of steel from the demolition will be recycled as scrap metal, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. 

Energetic felling is "the safest, most effective and least intrusive method,” said Wahid Albert, chief engineer at the state Department of Transportation. The felling was also expected to cut months from the demolition process, speeding up the building of the new bridge’s second span. 

The bridge’s demolition was welcomed by motorists who had endured decades of congestion on the span connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

"I've been using this bridge and going over it since I was child — a lot of the time was spent just sitting in traffic," said Dennis Agostino, who is in his 50s. "This is a once in a lifetime experience. It's the end of an era."

The demolition was part of the $873 million Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project. The second span of the new bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2019, Cuomo said. When it opens, it will offer five lanes on the Queens-bound side and four lanes and a pedestrian path on the Brooklyn-bound side.

"The new Kosciuszko Bridge is a triumph, showing the world that New York is meeting big challenges and getting things done, rejuvenating our transportation infrastructure and supporting economic growth," Cuomo said in a statement, adding that it was the first major bridge to open in the city in more than 50 years. 

With Lauren Cook


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