Updated, 3:35 p.m.: New York City’s Kosciuszko Bridge may be brand-new, but the first car to drive over it certainly wasn’t.

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo drove President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard over the new span, which officially opens Thursday night.

 

"A beautiful car for a beautiful bridge," the governor tweeted with a video of his short — and slow — ride. 

 

Phase I of the Kosciuszko Bridge opens to traffic at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, following a grand opening celebration that begins at 8:30 p.m.
 

Original article: The lights New Yorkers will see during their commute across the Kosciuszko Bridge on Thursday night won’t just be taillights; they’ll also see a light show to celebrate the grand opening of Phase I of the city’s first new bridge construction in five decades.

 

 

The opening of the cable-stayed bridge comes after nearly three years of construction — and longtime headaches for nearly 200,000 commuters who traverse the structure that connects Queens and Brooklyn.

Phase I of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which cost $555 million, is a Queens-bound bridge that will have three lanes of traffic in both directions until the Brooklyn-bound Phase II bridge opens in 2020.

When that second span opens, there will be four lanes of traffic on the Brooklyn-bound side and five Queens-bound lanes. The bridge will also feature a 20-foot-wide walkway and bikeway.

The incline of the Kosciuszko Bridge will be lowered to around 35 feet, which will allow for trucks and other large vehicles to maintain speed, which will help alleviate congestion.

"The new bridge — the first major New York City bridge to open in more than 50 years — will bring much-needed relief to commuters and be a spectacular addition to the New York City skyline,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The last major bridge to open in New York City was the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island, in 1964.

Thursday’s light show to celebrate the grand opening of the first Kosciuszko Bridge span will be synchronized to music on several iHeartRadio channels. It will also be the debut of “The New York Harbor of Lights,” a multicolor LED light show that will coordinate with the Empire State Building’s lights.

By May 2018, the light shows will be set up on all of the MTA-managed bridges and tunnels, which includes the Henry Hudson Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, RFK Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge. The George Washington Bridge will also be part of the initiative that will allow the structures to be coordinated to music and each other for special events. 

Gov. Cuomo will host a party near the new Kosciuszko Bridge at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The original Kosciuszko Bridge opened in 1939 to replace the Meeker Avenue Bridge that had been in use since 1894 and was known as the “Penny Bridge” because passengers were charged one cent per foot to travel across it.