List of Landmarks
When people see pictures of bridges from New York City, they often assume that they are looking at a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge. While the Brooklyn Bridge is a famous suspended bridge that moves traffic in and out of Brooklyn, the bridge that people most confuse with being the Brooklyn Bridge is actually the bridge that connects Manhattan to Long Island. The Queensboro Bridge is not a suspension bridge. But because its shape mimics that of the suspension bridge in Brooklyn, the Queensboro Bridge is often mistaken for a suspension bridge and often erroneously called the Brooklyn Bridge. Many residents of New York City know the bridge as the 59th Street Bridge and it has a long and interesting history.
The Queensboro Bridge was completed and opened in 1909. The planning for a bridge that would allow traffic to flow from Manhattan to Long Island had started as early as 1838. But financing was always difficult to get and the project was never able to get off the ground. When the bridge was finally commissioned and built, it was one of the first double-layer bridges in the world. It is a cantilever design that relies on its steel frame to hold it in place. It looks like a suspension bridge, but it is not. At the time it was built, the bridge cost $50 million dollars to complete. During its construction, 18 workers had died as a result of doing their jobs.
The Queensboro Bridge is over one mile long and 100 feet wide. It stands 130 feet above the waters of the East River. It has four upper lanes and six lower lanes. It has been in constant use since it was opened in 1909. There have been attempts at adding more capacity and spans to the bridge throughout its history, but any attempts to make the bridge larger were always demolished and abandoned. Over 175,000 cars per day roll over the bridge and it has remained a toll-free bridge for some time.
In 2010, New York City added former mayor Ed Koch’s name to the name of the Queensboro Bridge to honor the former mayor. A comprehensive renovation and remodeling project started in 1987 and was still going on as of 2012. The project is slowed because the bridge cannot be closed to traffic. The city estimates that the final cost of the renovation project will be somewhere in the area of $300 million.