Brooklyn residents concerned about plans for implosion of Kosciuszko Bridge

Friday, February 24, 2017 07:49PM
Tim Fleischer has the story.

GREENPOINT, Brooklyn - Community leaders and residents are concerned over plans for parts of the busy Kosciuszko Bridge to be imploded over the summer.

Some 185,000 vehicles cross the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens every day.

The question is, how do you take down the old Kosciuszko Bridge when it's time to shift the traffic to the new one?

That method is now raising concerns in Greenpoint.

"Expeditious action should never trump public safety and health quality," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Adams and community leaders are raising a red flag over how state DOT officials plan to take down the old Kosciuszko Bridge as the new span is opened sometime later this year.

"Take your hand off the switch, sit down and speak with the stakeholders and inform them what is the process moving forward," said Adams.

Word of the use of a series of implosions to take down the 1.1 mile structure, community leaders say, comes as a surprise.

"There was no mention of implosion, explosion or any other form of dynamiting the structure," said Gerald Esposito, district manager of Community Board #1.

Eyewitness News has learned the main span, which crosses Newtown Creek, would be removed first and slowly lowered. It would not drop into the creek.

Then, using a series of small strategically placed implosions, other sections of the bridge would then drop straight to the ground below.

"Transportation has told me that it is a series of small surgical explosions, and it's not like one of these huge explosions where you see all this smoke," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan.

Still, federal and city officials now want a town hall meeting with DOT to better understand the method and the environmental impact.

"Come and show what it means and come and talk to the community, and explain to us exactly what is happening," said Rep. Maloney.

A spokesperson from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office released a statement on this saying:
"The state has had more than 140 meetings to date and we will continue public dialogue with all stakeholders throughout the remainder of this project. Implosion is the safest and the most efficient plan so any theatrics or grandstanding from community leaders is not only unnecessary but entirely misleading. We are surprised that the borough president suddenly has an interest in this project considering he didn't attend a single one of the five briefing meetings or two tours that he has been invited to since he took office."

Sometime later this year, traffic will be shifted off the old bridge to a span of the new bridge, and dismantling is expected to begin. It's unclear how long that may take.

There is talk of trying to set up a town hall meeting as early as next week.
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)