Bridge on a Barge: Old Span Dismantled, Shipped Down Creek

NEW YORK (AP) -
The main span of the old Kosciuszko Bridge sits Wednesday on two barges beneath the new bridge. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Now there’s something you don’t see often: a bridge on a barge.

Workers were moving the main span of New York City’s old Kosciuszko Bridge down Newtown Creek to the East River on Wednesday.

The slow process started Tuesday when crews used cables to lower the span — 300 feet long, 89 feet wide and 50 feet tall at its highest point — onto two barges. In total, 26 million pounds of steel will be recycled from the main span and bridge approaches.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened the original structure, pronounced alternatively kuh-SHOOS’-koh or kos-kee-YOO-sko, in 1939. The new bridge, which spans Brooklyn and Queens, opened to traffic in April. A second span will be finished in 2020.

Once the project is fully completed, the Queens-bound bridge will carry five lanes of traffic, and the Brooklyn-bound bridge will carry four lanes. A 20-foot-wide bikeway-walkway will offer what Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s offices describes as “spectacular views of Manhattan.”

The bridge’s name honors Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a military engineer from Poland who came to fight for the independence of the American colonies.