Image source: New York Daily News / NY Gov. Cuomo
The old Kosciuszko Bridge, which connected Brooklyn and Queens for 78 years in New York, was imploded Sunday morning.
The long-delayed implosion of portions of the bridge began Sunday at 8 a.m. as Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a 10-second countdown in front of a crowd that witnessed the big booms and smoke rise from the old span.
The controlled implosion of the bridge will free up space to complete construction of the second span of the new bridge. The old bridge's main span over Newtown Creek was already lowered onto a barge and removed back in July. Twenty trusses that remain, 10 from each side of the bridge, will be recycled as scrap metal following the demolition, according to officials. Parts of the bridge were originally supposed to be blown up over the summer, but the demolition never happened.
Residents have voiced concern about demolishing the bridge, saying areas near the span are already dealing with poor air quality and pollution. State officials insist the implosion process is safer and quicker than dismantling the bridge piece by piece and that it will not create a large-scale explosion.
The governor's office said the New York State Department of Transportation did notify community leaders Wednesday about the plan to use small explosives at joints on the bridge, allowing the bridge to fall onto a prepared landing area without polluting the air—a process called "energetic felling."
The first span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge opened in April, with traffic going in both directions on it. When the bridge is completed in 2020, there will be two spans, one going in each direction. The old bridge, which the governor says was built for 10,000 vehicles, handled an estimated 185,000 vehicles per day before traffic was diverted to the new span. The new bridge will carry 200,000 vehicles and will also include a 20-ft-wide bikeway/walkway with views of Manhattan, according to officials.