Skip to main content

Roosevelt Island Bridge


You may be familiar with the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which is an elevated tram that takes you from midtown Manhattan over the East River to Roosevelt Island, but did you know that there is a bridge that takes you from Roosevelt Island to the borough of Queens? The Roosevelt Island Bridge is that bridge, and is the only bridge that offers motor vehicle access from Roosevelt Island to the rest of New York City. The bridge was opened on May 18, 1955 at a total cost of $6,498,255.13 under the name of the Welfare Island Bridge, as Roosevelt Island was known as Welfare Island at the time. All vehicles, including emergency services, will find that the only way for getting onto the island is by going through Queens. The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a tower drive, vertical lift, movable bridge across the East Channel of the East River with a span length of 418 feet. The bridge was renamed the Roosevelt Island Bridge in 1973, in accordance with Welfare Island being renamed Roosevelt Island.

In comparison, the Roosevelt Island Bridge is small potatoes when you compare it to other bridges over the East River, such as the Brooklyn Bridge or the nearby Queensboro Bridge (officially known as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, or the 59th Street Bridge, if you're feelin' groovy). Speaking of the Queensboro Bridge, the Roosevelt Island Bridge replaced a truck elevator from the Queensboro Bridge to Roosevelt Island built in 1916. Prior to the bridge being built, there was a car ferry from 78th Street in Manhattan to what was then known as Welfare Island, named because of the mental institutions that were once located on the island. Overcrowded and causing delays on the Queensboro Bridge, the elevator system was a mess which frequently broke down, plus the ferry service was inadequate for traffic demand, so work began on a new East River Bridge in 1952, which led to the opening of the bridge in 1955.  It is arguably easier to access Roosevelt Island now, and during a visit to New York City, I decided to check out Roosevelt Island and the bridge to get on and off the island.

Looking towards Queens from Roosevelt Island.

The Roosevelt Island Bridge's seamy underbelly.

The Roosevelt Island Bridge was relatively peaceful that Sunday afternoon.

Typically, the bridge has a clearance of 40 feet over the water. When the 418 foot long, 1000 ton vertical lift span is raised between the bridge's 170 foot tall towers, a 100 foot clearance is then provided for passing ships.

The Roosevelt Island Bridge has access for both vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

Bridge plaque for the Welfare Island Bridge. Like the nearby Pulaski Bridge over Newtown Creek, Frederick H. Zurmuhlen of the New York City Department of Public Works oversaw the design and construction of the Welfare Island Bridge. Zuhrmulen was one of the unsung men who built the modern city, and he served under three mayors.
The Queensboro Bridge, hiding behind the Roosevelt Island Bridge when you look towards the south.
A nice parting shot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, as seen from Roosevelt Island.


How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
The History of the Roosevelt Island Bridge - Brownstoner
Movable Bridges over Smaller Waterways - New York City DOT
Roosevelt Island Bridge - NYCRoads.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Breezewood - The Rise and Decline of a Highway Rest Stop

It's the Pennsylvania Turnpike Interchange most people hate - and with a passion.  The Breezewood Interchange - a junction of two Interstates (70 & 76) that became complicated due to archaic rules, rural politics and power, and an unwillingness to change.  At its romanticized best, this small unincorporated community of under 100 residents is a reminder of travel days of the 1950s-1970s; at its worst, it is a gradually dying relic of old motels and services that drivers are forced to slow down and drive through on their way to bigger and more modern destinations.

The Breezewood Interchange is an exception to the rule in the Interstate Highway System.  Depending on your direction, Interstate 70 joins or leaves the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) here.  However, unlike nearly every Interstate junction in the United States - Interstate 70 must traverse on a roughly 1/4 mile stretch of US 30.  A four lane highway complete with traffic lights, center turn lanes to cross traffi…

Old US Route 99 in Goshen, Traver, and the Warlow Rest Area

This summer I had a look into the alignment history of US Route 99 through the Tulare County communities of Traver and Goshen.  The photo below is take from Camp Drive northbound in Goshen on what was US Route 99 until the early 1930s.



Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Goshen and Traver

Goshen and Traver were both founded in 1872 as sidings of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  The Southern Pacific Railroad laid the groundwork for development of southern San Joaquin Valley.  Previous to the Southern Pacific Railroad travel via wagon or foot in Central California tended to avoid San Joaquin Valley in favor of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road.  The Stockton Los Angeles Road lied to the east of San Joaquin Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and was less subject flooding.  Before the Southern Pacific Railroad most of San Joaquin Valley was a sparsely inhabited wetland which made travel by road difficult.  Goshen and Traver can along the Southern Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Ore…

California State Route 283; former US Route 101 over the Rio Dell Bridge

This week we examine one of California's shortest State Highways; California State Route 283.  California State Route 283 includes the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge and is a former segment of US Route 101.  The photo below is the Rio Dell Bridge after the 1964 Christmas Floods which wiped out the northern approach span. 


California State Route 283 ("CA 283") is a 0.36 Mile State Highway between modern US Route 101/Redwood Highway and the community of Rio Dell in Humboldt County.  The key feature of CA 283 is the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge which was the second alignment of US Route 101.  The Rio Dell Bridge connected Scotia north over the Eel River via Wildwood Avenue to Rio Dell.  The Rio Dell Bridge is a steel truss design which 1,643.1 feet in length.  The Rio Dell Bridge is also known as; North Scotia Bridge, Eel River Bridge, Scotia-Rio Dell Bridge, Albert Stanwood Murphy Memorial Bridge, and the Eagle Prairie Bridge.  CA 283 is unsigned presently ranks as the second shortest State…