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What is the blue bridge in brooklyn?


The blue bridge in Brooklyn is officially known as the Kosciuszko Bridge. It spans Newtown Creek and connects Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn with the Long Island Expressway in Queens. The bridge is known for its striking blue cable stays and LED lights that illuminate the bridge at night.

The original Kosciuszko Bridge opened in 1939. It was named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish military engineer who served under George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. The original bridge had a steel truss design and was green in color. After over 70 years of use, the aging bridge required extensive repairs and rehabilitation. Construction on a new cable-stayed bridge began in 2014 right next to the original bridge.

The New Kosciuszko Bridge

The new Kosciuszko Bridge was constructed in two phases. The first new span opened in April 2017. This section contains five lanes for traffic going into Brooklyn. The second span opened in August 2019 and contains four lanes for traffic going into Queens. Some key facts about the new Kosciuszko Bridge:

  • Cost: $873 million
  • Length: 1,600 feet
  • Width: 135 feet
  • Height: 276 feet
  • Cables: 112 steel cables per bridge span
  • LED lights: Capable of displaying various colored lights at night

The bridge was designed by the New York State Department of Transportation and built through a partnership between Skanska, Kiewit, ECCO III Enterprises. The project manager for the new bridge was WSP USA. The bridge construction utilized modern and innovative techniques, like building the bridge spans offsite and then transporting them into place by barges. Sustainability was also a major factor in the bridge’s design and construction.

Why is the New Bridge Blue?

The bright blue color of the new Kosciuszko Bridge makes it instantly recognizable in the New York City landscape. But why blue? According to the NYSDOT, there were a few major reasons behind selecting the blue color:

  • Complement the bridge’s innovative cable-stayed design
  • Distinguish it from the original green bridge
  • Reflect the nearby waterways it passes over
  • Represent the bridge’s illumination with sustainable LED lights

The specific blue hue chosen is called Harbor Blue. It was intended to invoke the colors of New York Harbor while also symbolizing stability, trust, and calm. The blue represents the bridge’s connection between Brooklyn and Queens. Overall, the striking blue cables and lights create an iconic new urban landmark for New York City.

Bridge Lighting Design

One of the most unique features of the new Kosciuszko Bridge is its state-of-the-art LED lighting system. The bridge has a complex network of color-changing lights that can put on dazzling light shows at night. The lighting system was designed by the firm WSP USA and includes:

  • 300 LED fixtures on the bridge’s cable stays
  • 600 LED fixtures on the bridge deck
  • 400 LED fixtures on the bridge towers
  • Programmable control system for dynamic lighting effects

The LED fixtures are energy efficient and long lasting. The lighting design serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. The lights illuminate the bridge for traffic safety and visibility. The dynamic color changing effects also create a visually stunning public art display. Some lighting possibilities include:

  • Solid colors like blue, red, green, purple
  • Multicolored rainbow effects
  • Animated sequences and transitions
  • Thematic holiday colors
  • Custom designs for special events

The Kosciuszko Bridge lights are capable of producing over 100 billion possible color combinations using the RGB scale. The bridge lighting can even synchronize with music! Overall, the state-of-the-art illumination transforms the Kosciuszko Bridge into an iconic nighttime landmark for New York.

Construction Timeline and Fun Facts

The Kosciuszko Bridge has a long and fascinating history dating back over 80 years. Here is a timeline overview of the bridge’s construction and fun facts:

Year Construction Milestone
1939 Original Kosciuszko Bridge opens
2014 Construction begins on new bridge
April 2017 First new span opens (Brooklyn-bound)
August 2019 Second new span opens (Queens-bound)
October 2019 Original bridge demolished
  • The original bridge was built for just over $6 million.
  • The new bridge cost over $800 million to construct.
  • Over 300 engineers worked on the bridge’s design and construction.
  • The total weight of the new bridge is 44,000 tons.
  • The bridge carries over 180,000 vehicles per day.
  • The bridge is monitored by a state-of-the-art camera system.

Impact on Brooklyn and Queens

The new Kosciuszko Bridge provides critical transportation infrastructure connecting Brooklyn and Queens. The bridge impacts the nearby communities in several important ways:

  • Improves traffic flow with more lanes
  • Enhances safety for all vehicles
  • Expedites commutes for thousands of motorists
  • Eases congestion on local roads and alternate routes
  • Provides access to new development opportunities
  • Creates beautiful new city landmarks

The Newtown Creek area near the bridge is currently undergoing major revitalization. The improved connectivity from the new bridge supports new residential, commercial, and industrial projects in the vicinity. The extra bridge capacity also reduces traffic congestion in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The iconic new cable-stayed design and LED lighting further elevate Brooklyn and Queens as tourist destinations. Locals and visitors often photograph and share images of the distinctive blue bridge. Overall, the new Kosciuszko Bridge represents improved mobility, economic growth, and civic pride for both boroughs.

Brooklyn Bridge vs. Kosciuszko Bridge

The Kosciuszko Bridge is often contrasted with the nearby and much more famous Brooklyn Bridge. Here is a comparison of the two iconic New York City bridges:

Brooklyn Bridge Kosciuszko Bridge
Opened 1883 1939 (new bridge in 2017)
Designer John Augustus Roebling New York State DOT
Length 6,016 feet 1,600 feet
Traffic 6 lanes for vehicles 9 lanes for vehicles
Notable Features Iconic granite towers, promenade Blue cable stays, LED lights

While the Brooklyn Bridge is more famous, the Kosciuszko Bridge is the vital modern transportation link between Brooklyn and Queens. The bridges each have their own unique architecture and history. The Kosciuszko Bridge has big blue shoes to fill as the younger sibling to the iconic and beloved Brooklyn Bridge!

Design Innovations

The new Kosciuszko Bridge incorporates an array of innovative design elements and construction techniques. These modern features enhance the bridge’s functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability:

  • Cable-stayed design – Provides structural efficiency using less materials
  • Steel delta frames – Allow for quick, modular construction
  • Smart sensors – Monitor bridge loads and vibration
  • High-performance steel – Creates stronger, lighter bridge components
  • Accelerated bridge construction – Minimizes traffic impacts during building
  • LED lighting – Saves energy and creates visual displays
  • Harbor Blue color – Distinctive aesthetic enhances the waterfront

These state-of-the-art engineering elements make the Kosciuszko Bridge an iconic 21st century transportation landmark. The innovative design and construction will extend the bridge’s lifespan for decades while also improving the experience for all who travel over it. The Kosciuszko Bridge stands out as a model of modern infrastructure and sustainability.


The Kosciuszko Bridge is a vital transportation artery connecting Brooklyn and Queens. The new cable-stayed bridge opened in phases between 2017-2019 to replace the original bridge built in 1939. The bright blue cables and energy efficient LED lights create an instantly recognizable new landmark in New York City. Beyond its visual impact, the bridge also improves traffic flow, safety, accessibility, and economic growth for the region. The Kosciuszko Bridge incorporates innovative and sustainable design to serve New York City well into the future. While less famous than its neighbor the Brooklyn Bridge, the modern engineering of the Kosciuszko Bridge is an iconic addition to New York’s urban landscape in its own right.