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360 Video: New York’s Kosciuszko Bridge Demolished

The New York Times | 1:18

360 Video: New York’s Kosciuszko Bridge Demolished

Peter Smisek

11 October 2017

Video Views

NEW YORK CITY’s Kosciuszko Bridge has been demolished using a controlled implosion to make way for a new, wider crossing, as seen in this 360 degree video (best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge or Opera or YouTube's mobile app).

The demolition of the 6,000 foot long crossing between Queens and Brooklyn is part of New York’s first major bridge project since the completion of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island.

Above: The replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge is phased to eliminate traffic disruption; here the cable-stayed eastbound crossing is being built while the old truss bridge remains open to traffic (image courtesy of Jim Henderson).

The now-demolished truss bridge was in many ways symptomatic of America’s ageing infrastructure. Built in 1939, it was only designed to serve 10,000 vehicles a day, but after being connected to the country’s systems of Interstate highways, it ended up operating 18 times over capacity.

In 2009, it was decided that the six-lane bridge would instead be replaced by two new parallel crossings, one comprising five lanes, and the other four, - the first of which was built before this demolition.

The project is set to ease congestion by up to 65% and create a much needed pedestrian and bicycle connection between the two boroughs. Overall, it is set to cost USD $873M - making it the largest public contract ever awarded in the state of New York.

Above: The old Kosciuszko Bridge, built in 1939, was not fit for purpose, operating at 18 times over capacity (image courtesy of Jim Henderson).

Demolition of the old structure was managed by Skanska, the project’s lead contractor. In July, the main span of the bridge was removed and lowered onto a barge in the Newtown Creek to be shipped to a recycling facility in New Jersey.

Then, 944 linear charges were attached to the remaining steel structure, with workers making over 1,600 strategic cuts before demolition. The final implosion, said to be the first for a major bridge in the city, was presided over by New York's state governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Above: A computer generated image of the finished bridged, which is expected to open in 2020 (image courtesy of Touchstone Architecture).

The replacement bridge is planned to be complete by 2020. Until then, the recently constructed eastbound portion of the bridge will carry three lanes of traffic in each direction; this crossing opened ahead of schedule in April 2017 and within its USD $555M budget.

The works on the westbound crossing, whose design will mimic that of the eastbound portion, will commence once the wreckage from the demolished structure is cleared.

You can learn more about the ongoing work to upgrade infrastructure across the United States in this video

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