New York City (NYC)
Triboro Bridge (1936)
The Triborough Bridge, now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, is a complex facility. It consists of three bridges that connect the boroughs of Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. The Harlem River drive and the FDR highway connect to the Harlem River Lift Bridge. The East River suspension bridge is the longest spanning structure in the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, connecting Manhattan and the Bronx to the neighborhood of Astoria and the Grand Central Parkway. The Bruckner and the Deegan expressway’s can be accessed through the Bronx crossing. All three bridges meet at Randal’s Island, where the traffic is organized to provide easy access to all three bridges. Plans for the construction of the Triborough Bridge had been drawn up several times since 1916, but lack of funds and leadership delayed the project for some time. In 1929, New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker had all the necessary paper work approved for the Triborough Bridge a day before Black Thursday, an event which contributed to the Great Depression. The severe economic downturn which followed the stock market crash, depleted the funds which were allocated to the Triborough Bridge, and as a result construction had completely halted by 1930.
In 1933, Robert Moses was appointed as the chairman of the Triborough Bridge Authority. The Newly formed Federal-Level Public Works administration or the PWA, gave the Triborough Bridge Authority a loan of $37 million. Robert Moses appointed Othman Ammann, a well-established Swiss-American engineer, as the chief designer for the Triborough Bridge. Ammann incorporated many of the ideas of the previous bridge designer Arthur I. Perry. However Ammann’s changes to the design of the Triborough Bridge cut the overall costs of construction by $10 million. Robert Moses had originally proposed to build the Manhattan arm of the Triborough Bridge on East 103rd Street, rather than 125th in order to avoid disrupting the mental facilities on Randal's Island. This proposal was swiftly rejected, and Robert Moses had to continue with the original plans to construct the Manhattan wing over Randal's Island.
The project was an important economic stimulus to the entire East Coast during the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. As one example, all of the cement plants from Maine to Georgia were re-opened just to meet the needs of the complex. The construction of the Triborough Bridge cost a total of $60.3 million; $35 million of the costs was financed by the Triborough Bridge Authority. The opening of the bridge on July 11, 1936 was followed by a dedication ceremony attended by 15,000 guests. During the ceremony, President Franklin Roosevelt, Mayor LaGuardia and Robert Moses addressed the public.
Visit Additional NYC Bridges:
Brooklyn (1883) Williamsburg (1903) Ed Koch Queensboro (1906) Manhattan (1909) Verrazano (1964) George Washington Bridge Whitestone Throgs Neck