There are 2,027 bridges in NYC.
              I'm trying find all of them.
                         And then cross all of them.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Triborough Bridge

Only 2,021 more to go...


View of the pedestrian path on the East River section crossing from Astoria Queens to Randall's Island.

Spans Manhattan-Bronx-Queens, crossing Hell Gate (East River), The Harlem River, and the Bronx Kill.
The Triborough Bridge is a complex of three bridges connecting the three New York City boroughs of the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. The bridge uses what were originally two separate islands, Ward's Island and Randall's Island to support the center of the span.

The Robert Moses Building is the headquarters of M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels, the successor to the old Triborough Bridge Authority. Robert Moses, the ultimate modern urban planner, kept his office at the center of his empire - on Randall's Island at the base of his biggest moneymaking bridge. Both the building and his office have been renovated over the years and no longer reflect the omnipotence of Moses at his peak.


The Triborough does have a pedestrian path. It is mostly used by bicyclists who are legally required to dismount as they cross. Very few do so - until they run into one of the three staircases on the span. BEWARE.

For those of you who have never crossed the Triboro by bike or foot, it can be very confusing. The DOT provides this map, but I get confused all the time, so here's a simple explanation.

triboro path

There is no direct route for cyclists and pedestrians from Queens to Manhattan or the Bronx. Instead of following the traffic, the path drops you on Randall's Island from all directions.
You need to cross the island and find the correct span for the borough you are going to, making the bridge a two-step process.

I haven't actually taken the Manhattan entrance this year, so I can't vouch for it, but if the ramps are open, they're at 124/126th and Second Avenue. If not, the stairs are at 124/126th and First Avenue.
Alternately, there's the Ward's Island Bridge at 103rd Street and the FDR, which is for bicyclists and pedestrians only. Ward's Island connects to Randall's Island.

The Queens entrance is the stairs at 27th and Hoyt.

The Bronx entrance is the ramp structure at 133rd and Cypress.


Here's a question that I never thought I'd ask, but in the context of this blog is sort of important. Is this one bridge or five?

Construction started: October 25, 1929
Opened to traffic: July 11, 1936
Total length of approaches (Manhattan-Queens-Bronx): 13,820 feet
Cost of original structure: $60,300,000


Length of main span: 1,380 feet
Length of each side span: 700 feet
Length, anchorage to anchorage: 2,780 feet
Height of towers above mean high water: 315 feet
Clearance at center above mean high water: 143 feet


Length of main lift-truss span: 310 feet
Length of each side truss span: 230 feet
Length, anchorage to anchorage: 770 feet
Height of towers: 210 feet
Clearance of lift span above mean high water: 55 feet
Clearance of lift span in raised position: 135 feet


Length of main truss span: 383 feet
Length of approach truss span: 1,217 feet
Length, anchorage to anchorage: 1,600 feet
Clearance of truss span above mean high water: 55 feet


Structural steel used: 29,500 tons
Reinforcing steel used: 5,500 tons


Reinforcing steel used: 9,500 tons
Concrete used in roadway and piers: 111,200 cubic yards

Bridge Statistics from

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