2017-10-04 / Features

The ‘Energetic Felling’ Of Old Kosciuszko Bridge


A section of the bridge makes a soft landing. Sand and gravel mounds were used to cushion the impact of the fallen trusses. 
PhotosWalter Karling A section of the bridge makes a soft landing. Sand and gravel mounds were used to cushion the impact of the fallen trusses. PhotosWalter Karling Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the energetic felling or controlled demolition of the old Kosciuszko Bridge in both Brooklyn and Queens that took place on Sunday, October 1.

Gov. Cuomo explained, “The Kosciuszko Bridge had to be replaced. It was 78 years old, the structural integrity was questioned, it was built to handle one quarter of the volume. It is a legendary bottleneck in the City of New York, and it has been for decades.” This is going to be the first cable suspension bridge in the city, he noted.

Energetic felling is the chosen process because it is the safest, quickest, most effective way to demolish the old bridge that is the least intrusive to the surrounding community. The felling is part of the $873 million Kosciuszko Bridge project, which is replacing the former bridge with two new state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridges. The felling was the first-ever implosion of a major bridge infrastructure using explosives in New York City. The state-of-the-art new twin span Kosciuszko Bridge has been expedited and is scheduled to be completed in 2019, a full four years ahead of the original project schedule. 944 explosive charges were strategically placed on the bridge at pre-cut areas. 20 steel truss spans dropped – a total length of 3,100 feet or nearly two-thirds mile – to fall intact for minimal dust and no flying debris.


Detonation of the explosive charges and their aftermath as viewed from a boat 1,500 feet from the bridge, midspan in Newtown Creek looking east into the rising sun. Detonation of the explosive charges and their aftermath as viewed from a boat 1,500 feet from the bridge, midspan in Newtown Creek looking east into the rising sun. As Cuomo welcomed everyone to the event, he thanked Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who worked on the project for many years. He also thanked Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who “got us the money from Washington, which is very important; Wahid Albert and the whole DOT team, headed by Cathy Calhoun, they’ve done a great job…And to all my colleagues from Albany and city government who are here – this was a joint effort and it took a lot of people to coordinate.”

The Aftermath. Laurel Hill Boulevard by Calvary Cemetery, showing the accordian-shaped, demolished steel trusses.The Aftermath. Laurel Hill Boulevard by Calvary Cemetery, showing the accordian-shaped, demolished steel trusses.
The event coincided with the 80th annual Pulaski Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. This year’s Parade theme isThaddeus Kosciuszko – Hero of Two Nations.” Since 1937, the Polish-American community of New York has honored General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish aristocrat and American Revolutionary War Hero during the month of October.

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