April 25, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
The first part of the new Kosciuszko Bridge will open this week with an elaborate light show.
The first piece of the new bridge connecting Queens and Brooklyn will officially open to traffic in both directions on Thursday, and will kick off its first day with a huge light show set to music, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday,
In celebration of the first new bridge in the City since the Verrazano Bridge in 1964 (which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island), “The New York Harbor of Lights” multi-color LED light show will begin on Thursday night on the bridge, and will be set to music airing on multiple iHeartRadio stations. It will also be coordinated with a light show on the Empire State Building.
The new bridge has an advanced lighting system for such celebrations. The system will be added to all seven MTA-operated bridges and tunnels, as well as the George Washington Bridge, by May 2018.
The lights will have ability to be coordinated to music and to one another for special events, and are expected to help boost tourism, according to Cuomo’s announcement.
The Kosciusko Bridge project will replace the existing 78-year-old bridge, which will be partially demolished this summer to make way for the second phase of the project. The new bridge is expected to serve 200,000 people each day.
“The Empire State is undertaking the most ambitious infrastructure program in the nation, and the new Kosciuszko Bridge will be an iconic New York structure for generations to come,” Cuomo said. “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.
When completed, the new Kosciuszko Bridge will have a Queens-bound bridge, which will carry five lanes of traffic, and a separate Brooklyn-bound bridge that will carry four lanes, as well as a 20-feet-wide bikeway and walkway with views of Manhattan. It is expected to be completed by 2020.
The first phase of the project saw the construction of the Queens-bound bridge, but it will hold three lanes of traffic going in each direction until the Brooklyn-bound bridge is completed.
The project is moving along ahead of schedule, and the Brooklyn-bound bridge is expected to open in early 2020, four years ahead of schedule, according to Cuomo.
“It is a vibrant symbol of how the State is not just talking about moving vital infrastructure projects forward, but actually getting them done and restoring New York’s tradition of excellence,” Cuomo said.
The old Kosciuszko Bridge is expected to be imploded this summer.