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Thread: Willis Avenue Bridge - Swing Bridge across Harlem River - Designed by Thomas C. Clark

  1. #1

    Default Willis Avenue Bridge - Swing Bridge across Harlem River - Designed by Thomas C. Clark

  2. #2

    Default Willis Avenue Bridge

    It looks like it's on a barge.

  3. #3

    Default Willis Avenue Bridge

    That's because it is a swing movable bridge, *and it rotates on that "barge" to provide passage to boats.

  4. #4


    January 14, 2006

    City Wants to Part With Bridge That Links Bronx and Manhattan


    New York City has a bridge to sell. Really.

    For a bargain-basement price, $1, the city is willing to part with the Willis Avenue Bridge. It will even deliver the bridge at no charge, up to 15 miles.

    The bridge, which connects the Bronx and Manhattan over the Harlem River, is one of seven swing bridges operated by the city. It opened on Aug. 22, 1901, and is one of the city's oldest.

    Used by 75,000 vehicles a year, it costs $1.1 million a year to maintain. Its steel members require constant repainting and major sections have been corroded by the elements. The city decided in 1999 to build a replacement swing bridge, and plans to do so by 2012, at a cost of around $300 million. The new bridge would have wider lanes, better bicycle and pedestrian paths, a stronger deck and a streamlined design that would reduce the rate of accidents.

    Federal regulations, however, require a review by state historic preservation officials, because the bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and has not been substantially modified over its 104-year history. Under an agreement with the state, the city promised to offer the bridge's two steel trusses - the movable span and a fixed span - for "reuse and preservation."

    Hence the sale, for a nominal fee of $1.

    The buyer must agree to maintain the bridge's historic character, and may not sell it for scrap. If no buyer is found, however, the entire bridge may ultimately be demolished.

    In November, the city sent fliers offering the bridge to nearby government and parks agencies. It also placed an advertisement in Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A six-year review of the new project's environmental impact, completed last month, also publicized the sale. The availability of the old bridge was first reported in the Jan. 16 issue of The New Yorker.

    Despite all that publicity, no one has expressed interest. "It's not like we're putting this on eBay," said Iris Weinshall, commissioner of the city's Department of Transportation.

    Ms. Weinshall spoke in an interview on the bridge yesterday morning, as a three-member team of bridge operators swung open the main span for a monthly maintenance test. The 301-foot span rotates horizontally, around a central pivot, so ships can pass.

    Hours later, the department received a call from Civitas Citizens, a nonprofit group devoted to land use, planning and urban design on the Upper East Side and in East Harlem. The organization wants to move the span just 3,500 feet to the south, creating a pedestrian bridge between East 116th Street and Randalls Island, the home of an emerging athletic and recreational complex.

    "We have $1 ready to put on the table," said T. Gorman Reilly, president of Civitas Citizens. "All we need is the $20 million it might cost to complete the project."

    After receiving the bridge, the group would have to anchor and adjust it.

    Mr. Reilly said the group had commissioned a feasibility study by Hardesty & Hanover, an engineering firm that happens to be a consultant to the city on the Willis Avenue replacement bridge. City officials said last night that it was too early to offer an opinion because they had not received the group's proposal.

    Whatever happens, it is clear that the Willis Avenue Bridge is heading for retirement.

    The city invited bids to build the bridge in 1897, when East Harlem was a struggling Italian neighborhood, and Mott Haven in the Bronx was bustling with factories. Work began in 1898. The bridge was completed in 1901, at a cost of $2.4 million.

    The Willis Avenue Bridge was intended to relieve congestion on the Third Avenue Bridge, immediately to the north, which opened in 1898. That bridge was replaced in 2004.

    The Third Avenue bridge has five lanes for Manhattan-bound traffic, and the Willis Avenue bridge has four lanes for Bronx-bound traffic. The two bridges, which have no tolls, are popular alternatives to the nearby Triborough Bridge, which costs $4.50 to cross without an E-ZPass.

    The Willis Avenue Bridge is best described, perhaps, as workmanlike. "It's not the most attractive bridge," said Henry D. Perahia, the city's chief bridge officer. "In fact, at the time it opened, people already considered it ugly. It has lasted longer than it should have."

    The replacement bridge will start from a point in Manhattan to the south of the current bridge, and nearly meet up with the existing bridge on the Bronx end. In Manhattan, the city will build new entrance ramps from First Avenue and the Harlem River Drive; in the Bronx, the State Department of Transportation plans to rebuild the exit ramps leading to the Major Deegan Expressway and Bruckner Boulevard.

    Bids are to be solicited in October, and construction is expected to start next year. The existing bridge will not be moved (or dismantled) until the new one is substantially ready for traffic.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  5. #5


    Thanks for posting that, Kris.

    I think the pedestrian bridge in Spanish Harlem sounds like a great idea.

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    New Willis Avenue Bridge Begins Barge Trip From Albany to NYC

    The replacement span for the Willis Avenue Bridge is being transported down the Hudson River by two barges.

    DNAinfo [Photo]
    By Della Hasselle
    DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
    July 13, 2010

    MANHATTAN — Two barges toting a fully built, 2,400-ton bridge began their trip down the Hudson River toward New York City on Tuesday.

    The span is a replacement for the 109-year-old Willis Avenue Bridge, which connects Harlem to the Bronx, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The barges will take the replacement bridge to Bayonne, N.J., where it will stay until being transported to it's final resting spot in Norhtern Manhattan in August.

    The replacement span will be towed up the East River and under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The $612 million project that is scheduled to be completed in late 2012, the paper reported.

    The swing bridge was built at the Port of Coeymans, just south of Albany, allowing the current Willis Avenue Bridge to remain open during construction.

    The Port of Coeymans’ owners aim to attract more projects upstate. They said shipping bridges and other large items by water is safer and more efficient than toting them by truck, according to WSJ.

  7. #7
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    New Willis Avenue Bridge Makes its Way Up the East River

    By Ben Fractenberg

    The replacement is expected to arrive at the Willis Bridge in the Harlem River sometime Monday morning.

    slide show

    MANHATTAN — The 2,400-ton replacement for the Willis Avenue Bridge is expected to a
    rrive at its destination in northern Manhattan sometime Monday morning, FOX New York reported.

    The bridge started its trip on July 13 from Albany with the help of two barges. It will travel up the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge on its route to the Harlem River.

    The $612 million restoration of the 109-year-old Willis Avenue Bridge, which connects Harlem to the South Bronx, is scheduled for completion in 2012.

    The replacement swing bridge will allow the connection to remain open during construction.

    Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to begin Aug. 2.

  8. #8
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Willis Ave. Bridge Goes the Way of All Metal


    The old Willis Avenue Bridge, in 2006

    Wanna buy a bridge? You’re too late. The 110-year-old Willis Avenue Bridge was floated to a Jersey City junkyard last week where it is being dismantled to be sold for scrap.

    You could have bought it for $1 — cash and carry. But when there were no takers five years ago, city officials required the contractor for the new Willis Avenue Bridge over the Harlem River to dispose of the old one.

    The new bridge opened last fall. The old bridge’s steel swing span and the steel deck that flanked it were barged to New Jersey. Granite from the bridge was given to the Parks Department to be used in Pulaski Park, near Willis Avenue and 132nd Street in the Bronx, and in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    A spokesman for Kiewit, the bridge project builder, said that after the city’s bridge offer failed to attract prospective purchasers, the company had not considered putting it up for sale again.

    “Once the contract was structured in a way that the bridge was going to come with us,” he said, “we never had any intention of doing that.”

    The original bridge cost $2.4 million, the new one more than $600 million. It’s famous as the 20-mile mark — “the wall” — in the New York City Marathon. The swing span on the old bridge was was 250 feet long. At one point, the city even offered free delivery within 15 miles for anyone who adopted it.

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