View Full Version : Alexander Hamilton Bridge

January 19th, 2003, 04:58 PM
Text from nycroads.com:

PROVIDING A HIGHWAY BRIDGE OVER THE HARLEM RIVER: When the Highbridge Interchange connecting the Washington (Heights) Bridge with the George Washington Bridge (via the old 178th Street and 179th Street tunnels) opened in 1952, Robert Moses, the New York City arterial coordinator, anticipated that it would not be long before a parallel span had to be constructed alongside the Washington Bridge. He said the following when the project was completed:

The New York State Department of Public Works (NYSDPW) is currently constructing the Cross Bronx Expressway, which includes the magnificent old Washington Bridge across the Harlem River. This bridge was widened and repaved, and a center divider was installed. It will before long have to be doubled in capacity by virtually adding another bridge next to it.

In his 1955 report Joint Study of Arterial Facilities, Moses determined that the Washington Bridge would not be able handle the anticipated traffic demands from the then-proposed lower level of the George Washington Bridge. He proposed a new eight-lane arch span - the Alexander Hamilton Bridge - directly south of the existing Washington Bridge. The bridge was to link to two other new expressways proposed by Moses: the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Trans-Manhattan Expressway.

As part of the Interstate highway system signed into law in 1956 - the new bridge was to carry the I-95 designation - the Federal government covered 90 percent of the bridge's $21 million cost. (The bridge itself cost $7.5 million to construct; the remainder was allocated for the interchanges.) Plans for the bridge and its interchanges had been finalized by 1958.

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: Because of the relatively deep and narrow valley that surrounds the Harlem River, the large arch design was particularly well suited to the site. The single main arch of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge is 555 feet long, exceeding that of the parallel Washington Bridge by 45 feet.

The main steel arch, which has a clearance of 135 feet above mean high water, is actually made up of two parallel arches that carry the traffic loads to the concrete foundations. Unlike the multi-ribbed, artistically sensitive plate girder arches of the Washington Bridge, the plate girder arches of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge reflect the streamlined standards of the postwar era. On the Manhattan and Bronx approaches, concrete-and-steel-girder viaducts flank the main arch span. In addition, the design included two elaborate highway interchanges that connect the bridge with the Harlem River Drive and the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) more than 100 feet below.

Construction of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge began in early 1960. In the spring of 1962, the two parallel arches comprising the main span were joined high above the Harlem River. The new bridge opened to traffic on January 15, 1963, the same day that the controversial Cross Bronx Expressway was completed. However, the interchange ramps between the bridge and the Major Deegan Expressway did not open until 1964. Ernest Clark, who designed the Cross Bronx Expressway under Moses, described this interchange as "concrete spaghetti… the word 'interchange' does not begin to adequately describe the construction in this area."

THE BRIDGE TODAY: The eight-lane Alexander Hamilton Bridge (which narrows to six lanes east of the Major Deegan Expressway ramps) currently carries approximately 175,000 vehicles per day (AADT) across the Harlem River. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), which maintains the bridge, recently undertook a project to provide redundancy for the girder systems.

One option being considered in the NYSDOT "Bronx Arterial Needs Major Investment Study" is an expansion (or reconstruction) of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. This option would be undertaken in conjunction with rebuilt interchanges at EXIT 1B (Harlem River Drive) and EXITS 1C-1D (I-87 / Major Deegan Expressway). Traffic bound for the Henry Hudson Parkway (NY 9A) would be diverted to the nearby Washington (Heights) Bridge.


Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River was built in 1963 south of the Washington Bridge (http://www.wirednewyork.com/bridges/washington_bridge/default.htm).


January 24th, 2003, 07:25 PM
Hey, what's that building in the backround?

January 24th, 2003, 11:24 PM
There are always traffic problems over there. The 2 buildings in the background are the Bronx's 2 tallest buildings-I forget the name but they look like projects.

January 25th, 2003, 04:23 AM
Those aren't the Tracey Towers.

January 25th, 2003, 09:46 AM
I thought these were taller than the Tracy towers. Then probably 3rd and 4th.

October 26th, 2004, 07:11 PM
The Alexander Hamilton bridge gives me the creeps, every time I travel over it. There are usually steel plates in the roadway, to cover up missing concrete. Worse, there are often exposed bolts or rivets in the expansion joints which threaten the health of your car's tires. This is a horribly-maintained span. Functionally obsolete and worthy of full replacement, to include additional lanes in each direction, as well as full breakdown lanes and concrete parapet walls.

And yes, the road is usually moving at a brisk 10 mph here, day or night. Wonderful.

October 26th, 2004, 07:23 PM
This is the third or fourth time you've advocated widening highways. The Van Wyck comes to mind. Do you think that this is a sensible solution to New York City's traffic problems?

October 26th, 2004, 10:07 PM
Yes, I do believe that the widening of highways can be part of a comprehensive, sensible transportation policy. Where I part company with others who take the extreme but opposite views of "against all capacity expansion" or "pave the planet" is that I ALSO believe in expenditures on new mass transit. For example, while I have advocated elsewhere in Wired New York to rip up/widen/cover the Cross Bronx (NY's version of "Big Dig"), I also advocate expansion of the NYC subway system, smarter links between different modes of transportation, closing of transportation missing links, etc. In short, I believe that expansion and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive. We can have both. New York City benefits from a huge network of subways, and a complementary network of limited access highways. Unfortunately, the former is 100 years on with no expansion; the latter is 50-60 years on with no expansion. This is what we have to change.

October 26th, 2004, 10:14 PM
Oops. Forgot to answer your question about the Van Wyck.

Yes, I do advocate conversion of the Van Wyck into a grand expressway entrance into the City. Here is yet another example of how we can have our cake and eat it, too.

Much if not all of the property along the Van Wyck is beat up, run down structures or buildings that can be built -- new -- atop parts if not all of the new highway. The new Van Wyck can be a show-stopper, with attractive landscaping, improved safety features, HOV lanes, express lanes, noise abatement technology, and entire new air rights neighborhoods which would obliterate the simple presence of the expanded road.

What we have now is not worthy of a great nation, and a great city. I want more.

October 27th, 2004, 10:44 AM
New York City should be the first American city to reject further investment in new automobile access expansion projects (maintain - don't expand) - and focus exclusively on extending mass transit (specifically subway service - not buses) and commuter train service. I'm waiting for photovoltic cells on subway train roofs.

Anyway, sorry - off topic....

October 27th, 2004, 11:10 AM
I never knew that New york City needs a grand entrace for the automobile. Your description sounds like a park, but while a park is an end in itself, an expanded roadway, no matter how pretty, will just encourage more people to drive into the city.

And therein lies the problem. There is finite space at the destination. Motor vehicles are the number one source of air pollution. They are an inefficient means of moving people around in an urban area. I am always happy when a parking lot turns into a building site.

The only thing I agree with is keeping existing roads in good repair. However, the amount of money that is allocated to mass transit is miniscule when compared to that which is spent on highways. It's time for us to grow up, and re-examine the concept of freedom of the automobile. Sitting on Canal St waiting to get into the Holland Tunnel is not very liberating.

October 29th, 2004, 12:59 AM
For the most part I am supportive of efforts that concentrate on improvements to mass transit. But the Van Wyck is a central artery from JFK to Manhattan for trucks from the cargo terminals. Movement of goods from JFK are now held hostage in extended rush hours and NYC loses its competitiveness. Are there other transportation options?

October 29th, 2004, 08:42 AM
A closer view of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, taken Sept 2003. It needs a paint job. Is the Washington Bridge renovation complete?

As for the Van Wyck, you can make more room for trucks by reducing the number of cars. The majority of people go to JFK by taxi, limo, car drop-off, or long term parking. A convenient, one-seat rail link s needed.

There is a perception that, once roads are built, they are free, but like the MTA, the DOT has a budget, and the money comes out of our pockets.

January 29th, 2006, 08:32 PM
This bridge is a clusterf*ck. Its not so much the bridge but the overwhelmed on and off ramps to the deegan that stops traffic. the entire thing needs to be reworked cause it is probably the most pitiful highway interchange in the city. A second bridge so that its one bridge in each direction would help out, and then they can have more turning off lanes for the deegan without jamming up the cross bronx.

October 23rd, 2009, 03:41 PM
I guess there were no qualified New York based companies.

10:53, July 16, 2009

Chinese construction company starts New York Alexander-Hamilton Bridge renovation project

The ground breaking ceremony for Alexander-Hamilton Bridge renovation project,the largest single phase project for the New York Department of Transportation, was held on Wednesday.

The project, launched by the China Construction America, Inc. (CCA), consists of the renovation project of a steel arch bridge across the river and the corresponding eight ramps spanning the Harlem River, and the interchange of the U.S. National Interstate Highway I-95 and I-87 connecting Manhattan and Bronx boroughs of New York City.

The 466-meter main bridge has a total of 9 crosses. Major work includes reconstruction and expansion of the two-way eight-lane bridge to a two-way ten-lane bridge, changing of the steel bridge deck, reconstruction and reinforcement of steel box girder and beams.

The project is scheduled to be completed on Dec. 31, 2013, lasting some 57 months.

In March 2009, CCA joined the competition with other competitors including top contractors Skanska, Kiewit and Perini bidding for the Alexander Hamilton Bridge renovation project and finally won the 407-million-dollar project.

The project indicates another big step forward for CCA in the mainstream building market in the United States, said a CCA official.

Source: Xinhua