Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy 70th

The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge under construction in the 1930s. It opened to traffic on April 29, 1939.

I've been crossing this bridge regularly since 1986, driving up to Chichester. Crossed it before then to get to the Bronx Zoo.

After just 22 months of construction, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opened to traffic 70 years ago today, rushed into completion for the start of the New York World’s Fair a day later. Previewing the opening ceremony — which included Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia; Robert Moses, the region’s master builder; and Othmar H. Ammann, the bridge’s engineer — The Times reported on Thursday, April 27, 1939:

The bridge, an important link in the city’s coordinated interborough highway and bridge plan, was constructed within two years, after its schedule had been shortened to assure completion before the opening of the Fair on Sunday. Costing about $18,000,000, it is exceeded in length only by three other suspension bridges, the George Washington Bridge and the two over San Francisco Bay.

It has been worked on for more than two years to paint, resurface, and who knows what else.

The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge today, at age 70.

The bridge is used by about 120,000 drivers each day.

Some summer Friday night it seems as if half of those drivers are on the bridge at once.

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