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Kosciuszko Bridge upgrade nears approval: State

Although construction on a new and improved Kosciuszko Bridge will not begin until the next decade at the earliest, the state told Community Board 2 last Thursday that the bridge’s development has been moving quickly on the fast track.

Robert Adams, of the state Department of Transportation, updated the board during its monthly meeting at the Sunnyside Community Center on the pending construction of the nine−lane bridge that will replace the existing six−lane structure that connects Brooklyn and Maspeth.

Adams said the final environmental impact statement was submitted to federal and state officials and the DOT is weeks away from obtaining design approval.

“By getting design approval, we will start on a detailed design process that we expect to take four years,” he said.

Actual construction on the new bridge is set to take place in 2013, according to the DOT. It will be located next to the existing Kosciuszko Bridge, which will continue to operate until the new bridge is up and running, Adams said.

Although exact specifics on the design have not been finalized, the DOT said the bridge will have three additional lanes that will connect streets on the Brooklyn and Queens sides of the bridge with on and off ramps.

“The department has spent the last several years evaluating [the bridge] to solve the traffic problems,” Adams said.

The DOT will be creating a stakeholders committee, where CB 2 representatives will be meeting with the roadway’s engineers to address and work out any issues or concerns they have with the construction.

“It is a massive undertaking to do the engineering. We want to ... find out what type of bridge the community wants,” Adams said.

The community outreach will also include benefit and relocation packages for the eight or nine businesses that will be affected by the new construction, according to the DOT representative. The DOT has already asked Native American groups, which own the land near the bridge, for input into the construction.

Adams said the state is in talks with the city Parks Department to convert the land on the Maspeth side of the bridge into new parks and playgrounds including a skateboarding arena.

“This part of Queens has no open space. We would want to provide active and open park spaces,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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