The Kosciuszko Bridge will not meet its demise today after all.
The original bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Queens, opened in 1939 and closed in April when the first phase of its replacement, also called the Kosciuszko Bridge, opened to traffic after three years of construction.
The first span, which is Queens-bound, cost $555 million to build and was the first major new bridge to open in more than 50 years, since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island opened in 1964.
A July 11 demolition date for the original span floated around, and was picked up by advocates planning to celebrate its looming end, while others aimed to defend it from its ill fate — with wolves and swords.
Everyone looking forward to a grand explosion of the bridge that had caused countless headaches for thousands of New Yorkers that traverse it every day are sure to be disappointed.
The center portion of the original Kosciuszko Bridge will dismantled and lowered onto a barge in Newtown Creek before being taken to be recycled in New Jersey. The opposite sides of the original bridge will then be demolished, allowing work to begin on Phase II of the new Kosciuszko Bridge.
Expected to open in 2020, that span will be Brooklyn-bound and add a 20-foot-wide walkway and bikeway. When both spans are open, there will be four lanes of traffic going into Brooklyn and five going into Queens. Until then, there will be three lanes in both directions on the new Queens-bound side.
A Department of Transportation spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that no date has been set to dismantle the original Kosciuszko Bridge.
The bridge was opened in 1939 to replace the Meeker Avenue Bridge that had been in use since 1894. That bridge was known as the “Penny Bridge” because passengers paid one cent per foot to cross it.