The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘#kbridge

opprobrious language

with 22 comments

Progress on the Kosciuszko Bridge Project, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those Open House NY tours from last week? My practice of handing the mike off to other speakers on the return part of the trip so that I can gather a few shots? Yup. Pictured above is the construction site of the NYC DOT and their contractors – principally Skanska – from the turning basin of that fabled cautionary tale of a waterway known simply as the Newtown Creek? Yup.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bridge project will eventually run NYS taxpayers around a billion somolians, with the first half of the epic undertaking priced at $550 million. The first phase of the project includes the extensive remodeling of local streets in both Greenpoint and West Maspeth/Sunnyside, the construction of the first (eastern) half of the new bridge, and the demolition of the 1939 Robert Moses model. The second phase will see the erection of the western section of the new bridge, which will be of the cable stay type, and during the entire project – traffic flow of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway has to be maintained.

Framed by the 1939 model in the shot above is Manhattan’s 432 Park Avenue, a residential tower taller than the Empire State Building, whose top floor penthouses have composite valuations close to $300 million bucks. The most desirable of these apartments was recently sold to a Saudi billionaire for an astounding $95 million.

When narrating on the mike, I erroneously said that the penthouses were valued at the same number as phase one of the new Kosciuszko Bridge, but mathematics has never been my strong suit. Also, if I’ve got a hundred bucks in my pocket, I feel rich so there you go. Besides, what’s $200 million to a Saudi Billionaire, anyway?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the Brooklyn side of the bridge project, on “used to be Cherry Street,” the support columns for the new bridge are rising steadily. The walking tour which I’ll be conducting on Sunday for Newtown Creek Alliance, which I’ve labeled as “The Poison Cauldron” used to walk right through this area, but given the amount of yuck which the project is kicking up into the air… well… we’re going to get close enough to the project to get a good view of it but not close enough to be in harms way.

The dusk shots in today’s post were gathered during the 5-7 boat tour, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also from the Open House NY excursions, this time on the trip that went from 7-9, when post sunset darkness and dramatic lighting from the job site provided for somewhat more dramatic shots of the project. The new bridge will be noticeably lower than the current model, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Progress is moving a bit slower on the Queens side, but is still on schedule. This shot looks north, at the shallow valley formed by Berlin and Laurel Hills that the 1939 bridge was built into. A lost tributary of Newtown Creek was in this area, called Wolfs Creek, which spilled down from the ridge that Sunnyside (or Long Island City Heights as it was once known) was built into.

If you want to come along this weekend and check out the Poison Cauldron, which discusses the oil industry in Brooklyn as well as many other topics of interest along the Newtown Creek, click the link below. It’s a Newtown Creek Alliance tour, and since NCA is a non profit, your tickets will be a tax deductible item and you say that you helped with our efforts to “reveal, restore, and revitalize” Newtown Creek.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

September 13th, 2015
Poison Cauldron Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets

September 20th, 2015
Glittering Realms Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets

gleam and grin

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Checking in on that little bit of construction occurring down in DUKBO.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project is in full swing these days, and there’s a small army of optic orange clad construction workers at work in that shallow valley between Laurel and Berlin Hills which has always provided a border betwixt LIC’s Blissville and West Maspeth’s Berlin neighborhoods. The old blue gray mare was built by the “House of Moses” back in 1939 as the “New Meeker Avenue Bridge,” carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway over Newtown Creek, and is considered as being dangerously deficient from the structural integrity and the traffic engineering points of view – so the NYS DOT is overseeing the implementation of its replacement.

Nobody else seems to be paying any mind to this mega project, but a humble narrator is not at all like anybody else.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots are all from the Queens side of the project, which will see the new bridge rise nearly one city block to the east of the 1939 model’s footprint. One has begun to refer to the street it will adjoin as “used to be 43rd street.” The shot above was captured on Laurel Hill Blvd., and depicts one of the many elevated piers which will carry the BQE towards its intersection with the Long Island Expressway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Closer to “used to be 43rd street” you’ll notice that the NYS DOT engineers have had the orange clad fellows jamming big bits of steel deep into Queens. The substrate which the bridge(s) sit upon is the elluvial flood plain of Newtown Creek – which is basically a giant agglutination of mud and aggregate. The piles need to be sunk down around one hundred and eight feet to meet bedrock, with the anchoring mechanisms for the piers going far deeper – from 160-180 feet depending on location.

Who can guess all there is, that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An unoccluded view of the metal bits, which are marked off with gauge measurement indications. This is the corner of “used to be 43rd street” and 54th avenue, for the curious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Same corner, but looking to the south rather than the antipode displayed in the former shot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Skanska crews working on the site, who are the aforementioned “fellows dressed in orange,” have a disturbing habit of leaving their fences open – given the fact that the BQE continues to run along the span offered by the 1939 model Kosciuszko Bridge.

No big “whup” of course, as this section of the highway has never really been “secure” in any real manner and has been a target for graffiti and illegal dumping enthusiasts for multiple generations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The project continues along Laurel Hill Blvd. and includes the Kosciuszko Bridge approaches. The Meeker Avenue side of the approaches, which roll through Greenpoint and Williamsburg, have been receiving quite a bit of attention from the fellows in orange in recent months. The work on the Queens side is just getting started, in comparison.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Phase One of the project will see the eastern half of the new bridge erected, followed by the dismantling of the 1939 era Kosciuszko Bridge. Traffic on the BQE will be rerouted onto the new span, and the construction on Phase Two will see the western section of the new bridge erected – whereupon traffic patterns on the BQE will be given their new and permanent form – with the eastern “Phase One” section carrying the South to North (Brooklyn to Queens) flow and the western “Phase Two” section allowing North to South (Queens to Brooklyn) traffic.

The good news is that Phase Two will include a pedestrian and bicycle path, which will overlook my beloved Newtown Creek.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

September 3rd, 2015
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Open House NY, click here for details and tickets.

September 20th, 2015
Glittering Realms Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

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