UPDATE (September 19, 2017): The US Coast Guard has informed mariners that the planned demolition, previous planned for Sept. 24th has been postponed with no new date announced. New York State has yet to make a formal announcement to confirm dates or safety zones.
One of the main events on Newtown Creek this year will be the demolition of the existing Kosciuszko Bridge. Originally built in 1939, the original K-Bridge is in the middle of a major reconstruction project being overseen by the NYS Dept. of Transportation. NCA historian Mitch Waxman has put together some great documentation about this infamous structure; read more about the history of the bridge here. In regards to the demolition here is some basic info about what people can expect this summer.
The Bridge will not be exploded over or fall into Newtown Creek.
The demolition is a 2-step process involving the lowering of the main span onto a barge and demolition of approach sections via implosion. The demolition process has been reviewed by numerous city, state and federal agencies to ensure that the procedure is safe and poses little to no harm to the environment. We do not anticipate that the demolition will introduce pollutants into Newtown Creek or disrupt underground pollutants in upland areas. See more info below regarding specifics of the demolition.
Lowering of the Main Span
Date: July 25th and 26th, 2017
The centerpiece of the bridge will not be exploded, imploded or end up falling into the Creek below. Rather the main span, which sits 125 feet above the water, is being lowered, in one complete section, onto a barge below. Once it is safely loaded and secured it will be barged out of the Creek and to a metal recycling facility in New Jersey. Given the size of the main span this will be a pretty phenomenal sight. The lowering process itself will take approximately 12 hours with additional time needed to secure the bridge to the barge. A maritime security zone on the Creek (to restrict boat traffic) will be in place during that time. If you have photos of the demolition process, please use the hashtag #byebyekbridge
Implosion of Approach Sections
Date: September, exact date TBA
Once the main span has been removed, construction crews will begin work on preparing for the demolition of the approach portions of the bridge. Preparation involves welding work on the structure itself and the creation of berms on the ground below to help absorb the shock and weight once the structures fall down. The implosion will occur approximately 6 weeks after the main span is removed. A final date has yet to be announced although is likely to take place in the early morning hours on a Sunday. We will post updates to this page regarding demolition dates when they are announced.
Where to Watch the Demolition?
Many of the areas surrounding Newtown Creek are occupied by private industrial facilities. There are a few public streets, sidewalks and parks like the Newtown Creek Nature Walk and Manhattan Avenue Street End which may offer good views for both stages of the demolition (see our recommended map here). For the explosion, there will be security zones established to keep people out of harm’s way as the approach sections come down. Once security areas for the explosion phase of demolition are announced we will post details here.
Old Kosciuszko Bridge Leaving Newtown Creek, July 26th, 2017. Photo by Mitch Waxman.
Post Demolition: A Second Bridge and Park Space
Completion Date: 2020
Once the old bridge is fully deconstructed the NYS DOT will oversee construction of a second span, which will mirror the existing new bridge. Once completed East-bound traffic will be transferred onto the newest section which will also include a bike and pedestrian path. There are preliminary plans for a park space on the Queens side of the new bridge (possibly to be named after NCA’s late historian and dedicated Newtown Creek advocate Bernie Ente). Early discussions for park space and a boat launch on the Brooklyn side are just beginning. Stay posted to NCA’s social media for updates on both opportunities.