Plan to demolish Kosciuszko Bridge faces backlash
by Patrick Kearns
Feb 28, 2017 | 2169 views | 0 0 comments | 139 139 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elected officials and environmental activists are upset with plans to use dynamite to demolish the Kosciuszko Bridge.

The state plans to dynamite the middle portion of the aging span and haul the pieces off by barge over a two-day period in July after the first portion of the new twin-deck bridge opens in April.

The second deck won’t open until at least 2020.

Adams said he found out about the plan through the media, despite being assured by the Governor's office he and other elected officials would be briefed.

“That briefing should be part of what we do prior to making announcements of that magnitude,” he added.

The original environmental impact statement, according to Adams, specifically points out that there would not be any use of explosives in an area with a troubled environmental past.

“Throughout the years, the only common denominator for the community has been that it’s a place where toxic waste has been a problem and continues to be problem,” Adams said. “It is a place where we are putting in a great deal of resources to clean up the waterway.”

In the early 1990s, residents of Williamsburg remember getting blasted with sand, dust and lead-paint chips during maintenance of the Williamsburg bridge.

Community Board 1 district manager Gerald Espositosaid it’s frustrating they weren’t included in the decision to use explosives.

“For the state’s highest official to make imprudent remarks about how you’re going to blow up a bridge in our community is just mind-boggling,” he said.

Esposito has been a member of Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Group for the past five years. He said the media report was the first mention he’s heard of explosion, implosion or any other use of dynamite.

Laura Hofmann is a Greenpoint resident and a steering committee member of Organization United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity (OUTRAGE), which also has had a seat on the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Group board for the past 13 years.

“Up until now, we’ve enjoyed a pretty open relationship with New York State Department of Transportation and with the consultants,” she said. “It was pretty stunning to watch the governor talk about implosion. I’ve never heard anything about that step.

“It's pretty damaging to what was a pretty good working relationship,” she added.

State officials assured there would be dust or flying debris from the controlled demolition, and the process minimizes the risk to adjacent properties, as well as the newly constructed bridge.

Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for the Governor’s office, said the state has held more than 140 meetings to date and will continue public dialogue with all stakeholders throughout the remainder of the project.

“Implosion is the safest and the most efficient plan, so any theatrics or grandstanding from community leaders is not only unnecessary but entirely misleading,” he said.

“We are surprised that the borough president suddenly has an interest in this project, considering he didn’t attend a single one of the five briefing meetings or two tours that he has been invited to since he took office,” Weinstein added.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet