Former Kosciuszko Bridge coming down this weekend

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Dave Evans has the story.

After nearly eight decades, the old Kosciuszko Bridge will be coming down this weekend.

The bridge is set to be demolished early Sunday morning using a method called "energetic felling," which is technically not an implosion.

"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," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "The energetic felling of the approach spans of the former Kosciuszko Bridge marks another milestone in the construction of the first major new bridge in New York City in more than fifty years and is one more sign that New York State is building a brighter future."

It was supposed to happen over the summer, but the work was delayed. Sunday's controlled demolition will free up space to complete construction of the second span. The builders investigated several options for lowering the old steel truss spans, and concluded that energetic felling was the safest, most effective, and least intrusive method. Once lowered, the trusses will be dismantled using heavy equipment and removed.

Energetic felling is not an explosion, rather small charges are placed at key joints on the bridge like tiny surgical instruments that cut key steel connections, allowing gravity to do the work.

The bridge approach spans will not break apart, but will instead fall intact onto a prepared landing area. As a result, there will be no dust or flying debris.

To reduce vibrations when the bridge approach spans fall, concrete and asphalt has been removed from the decks. In addition, cushioning berms have been added to the landing area to absorb the bridge as it drops and ensure vibration effects is negligible.

The process is said to meet all New York codes, including FDNY and MTA Codes.

Earlier this year, steel cables were used to slowly lower the center part of the span approximately 125 feet onto barges in the Newtown Creek, leaving only the outer shell.

The bridge opened back in 1939 and closed in April, when the first span of the new bridge opened. When the new bridge is complete, there will be five Queens-bound travel lanes of the BQE and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes, plus a 20-feet-wide bikeway walkway with spectacular views of Manhattan.

The Kosciusko Bridge project has been expedited and is scheduled to be completed in 2019, a full four years ahead of the original project schedule.

Ultimately, the bridge is expected to accommodate 200,000 cars per day. By comparison, the original bridge was built for only 10,000.
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