KBridge Construction Project Update

by Heather Van De Mark on

Last Wednesday was the Brooklyn update meeting for the upcoming Koscuiszko Bridge Project or “Kbridge” Project. (Tomorrow night the same presentation will be given by NYS DOT in Queens–see the GWAPP calendar for details.) The presentation didn’t touch on many of the areas I was most interested in–green space, street-scaping, bike lanes, Meeker Ave. plumes, etc.–but I figure I’d still report on the meeting for the sake of circulating information.

Project Overview
A 1.1 mile stretch of the BQE (from the Long Island Expressway to Morgan Avenue) is being demolished and rebuilt in order to redo the declining Koscuiszko Bridge. NY DOT explained that the project is happening because 1.) the physical structure is deteriorating; 2.) this section of the BQE has a high accident rate due to several non-standard issues such as sight-distance, merge lengths and roadway grades; and 3.) it experiences heavy traffic congestion throughout the day.

The entire project is planned to happen in two phases. Phase 1 is currently taking place and will wrap up in the beginning of 2018. Phase 2 will then proceed from 2018 to 2020.

NYS DOT Project Director, Robert Adams, assured the audience that funds have already been allocated for both phases of work. And that the NYS DOT has a completely separate contract to continue maintaining the current Kbridge now and during the whole project.

kbridge_planBefore and after areas of Sgt. Dougherty/Cherry St. Park

Before and after areas of Sgt. Dougherty/Cherry St. Park

The new bikeway/walkway will be on the Brooklyn-bound side, so access to those features won’t take place until 2020. Likewise, Sgt. Dougherty Park (aka Cherry St. park), which was demolished earlier this year, is a separate contract Phase 1 of the bridge construction, so at the earliest will not be rebuilt until 2018. The new park will boast a whopping .07 acre increase in open space.

Given that the meeting was dedicated to Phase 1, not much time was spent talking about Phase 2 or the proposed open space/bikeways/etc.

The contract for Phase 2 has not been awarded at this time.

Other Meeting Points
The audience had several concerns regarding highway traffic diverting to and clogging up local streets. The NYS DOT assured the audience that they are not planning on directional changes for local streets; that cross-streets (such as Morgan and Vandervoot Aves. will remain open); and that they are working with NYPD to control truck traffic on local streets.

Some audience members brought up the health and environmental issues of the neighborhood, such as trucking up contaminated soil, rodent-control, etc. NYS DOT said that the DEC has been an active partner in the project and that DEC engagement will be a part of the response/actions that the DOT takes.

There was concern by residents that the project would go beyond the planned 6-year schedule and it would have a large impact on quality of life. It was noted that the contractors will be penalized if the project goes beyond it’s allotted timeframe. Similarly, the contractors are incentivized to complete the project early.

Community Liaison
All questions, comments and concerns regarding day to day activities can be directed to the project’s community liaison: Christine Holowacz at 347-988-4412 or kosciuszko@dot.ny.gov. The community liaison will have a field office in both Brooklyn and Queens.

The project will also have a new website (coming soon) at http://dot.ny.gov/kbridge.

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.