New I-278 bridge in New York City opens Thursday

The new Kosciuszko Bridge (left) and the old span in New York City.The new Kosciuszko Bridge (left) and the old span in New York City.

Traffic will begin flowing in both directions over the first phase of the new Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City starting Thursday, April 27.

The new span of I-278 — the Brooklyn Queens Expressway or BQE — connects Maspeth, Queens to Greenpoint, Brooklyn over Newtown Creek.

The project replaces an existing 78-year-old bridge, with two cable-stayed bridges, one Queens-bound and one Brooklyn-bound. Phase I of project constructed the Queens-bound bridge and will include three lanes of traffic in each direction until the completion of Phase II.

The new bridge will carry about 200,000 vehicles a day, and have a 100-year lifespan.

Phase II — the Brooklyn-bound portion — is expected to be completed in 2020.

In the final configuration, the Queens-bound bridge will carry five lanes of traffic and a separate Brooklyn-bound bridge will carry four lanes, as well as a 20-feet-wide bikeway/walkway.

New York Department of Transportation said shoulders will be added to both bridges, where none currently exist. The roadway incline will also be lowered by about 35 feet, making it easier for trucks and other large vehicles to maintain consistent speeds on the bridge – helping reduce traffic congestion, according to the DOT.

Total cost of the project is $555 million.

project plan for the Kosciuszko Bridge