The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects Queens to the Bronx, celebrates 75 years Tuesday.
Since opening on April 29, 1939, about 2.2 billion vehicles have crossed the span, the MTA said. Nearly 109,000 vehicles used the bridge on an average weekday last year.
Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin
“This is a milestone anniversary for the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which is not only used by commuters and weekend travelers but also serves as an economic engine, providing a crucial link in the transportation of goods in the tri-state area,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara said.
The bridge was constructed as a way for drivers from upstate New York to travel to Queens and Long Island without needing to go through Manhattan or central Queens and “became a key factor in the growth of Long Island after World War II,” according to the transit agency.
Photos: MTA Bridges and Tunnels archives
Robert Moses, who as chairman of the Metropolitan Council on Parks, proposed building it as part of his planned Belt Parkway system, and wanted the bridge to open in time for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the MTA said.
The project was completed in 23 months and opened the day before the start of the fair, according to the transit agency. At the time of its construction, its 2,300-foot main suspension span was the fourth longest in the world.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, MTA Bridges and Tunnels will host three exhibits featuring historical images from the agency’s special archive. The first exhibit will open June 22 at the Queens Historical Society. Another will open in July at a still-to be-determined Queens venue, and a third exhibit will be held this fall at the Bronx Historical Society.
Here are some figures on the bridge via the MTA:
- In its first full year of operation, the bridge was used by 6.3 million vehicles. In 2013 it was used by 39.6 million.
- Total cost of the bridge: $19,657,000
- Passenger toll when opened: 25-cents; in 2014 E-ZPass $5.33 or $7.50 cash
- Height of towers above mean high water: 377 feet
- Width between cables: 74 feet
- Length of main span: 2,300 feet
- Number of cables: 2; length of each cable, 3,965 feet.
- Total number of wires in each cable: 9,862
- Total length of the cable wires equals 14,800 miles