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After Washington bridge collapse, concerns rise about Kosciuszko Bridge

Data from a new report by Congressmember Carolyn Maloney places the Kosciuszko Bridge at the bottom of a list ranking the traffic safety and infrastructure safety of state bridges. According to the report, the bridge has received a total of 49 flags — 21 more than it had in 2007 — from state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) inspectors for noted damages and needed repairs that may affect the long-term durability of the bridge.

The bridge also ranks last for the number of accidents and traffic delays in recent years.

The report was compiled using state conditions data available from the NYSDOT. Its findings comes on the heels of the state agency announcing that they are moving forward with the $800 million Kosciuszko Bridge Project, which is set to accept bids this summer and begin construction in Fall 2013.

That means the project will start 18 months ahead of schedule. It is designated a “Design-Build” project under the NY Works Program — Governor Andrew Cuomo’s jobs program that also aims to “reinvent state economic development with an innovative new strategy to put New Yorkers back to work rebuilding the state’s infrastructure.”

According to Maloney, who represents parts of Greenpoint, as well as Queens, Roosevelt Island and most of Manhattan’s Lower and Upper East Sides, the Kosciuszko Bridge Project “is a win-win-win for commuters, construction workers and the overall economy,” providing both safety and convenience to commuters who do not want to “See what happened in Washington State [on May 23] happen in New York.”

Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, agreed, noting that “a new Kosciuszko Bridge is vital for Brooklyn’s economic growth and would create thousands of new jobs in the process [while linking] several of New York City’s fastest-growing communities and relieving traffic back-ups that can be felt all the way in Sunset Park and Astoria.”

Federal funds are providing $670 million towards the project. Over 1,000 full-time construction jobs are estimated to be created by the project.

The Kosciuszko Bridge opened in 1939, replacing the Penny Bridge from Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn to Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens. It is the only bridge over Newtown Creek that is not a drawbridge, and was named in honor of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish volunteer who was a General in the American Revolutionary War.

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