Aerial view of the Triborough Bridge (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right). Queens is in foreground, across from Wards Island. The Triborough Bridge continues out of view and forks to reach both The Bronx and Manhattan.
|Official name||Robert F. Kennedy Bridge|
|Other name(s)||Triborough Bridge, Triboro Bridge|
|Carries||8 lanes of I-278|
|Crosses||East River, Harlem River and Bronx Kill|
|Locale||New York City, United States|
|Maintained by||MTA Bridges and Tunnels|
|Design||Suspension bridge, lift bridge, and truss bridge|
|Total length||847.34 meters (2,780 feet) (Suspension span)
234.70 meters (770 feet) (Lift span)
487.68 meters (1,600 feet) (Truss span)
|Width||29.87 meters (98 feet) (Suspension span)|
|Longest span||420.62 meters (1,380 feet) (Suspension span)
94.49 meters (310 feet) (Lift span)
116.74 meters (383 feet) (Truss span)
|Vertical clearance||14 feet 6 inches (4.4 m), but trucks onbound from Manhattan are limited to 13 feet 10 inches (4.2 m)|
|Clearance below||43.57 meters (143 feet) (Suspension span)
41.15 meters (135 feet) (when raised) (Lift span)
16.76 meters (55 feet) (Truss span)
|Opened||July 11, 1936|
|Toll||$7.50 for cash; $5.33 for New York State E-ZPass|
|Daily traffic||165,670 (Suspension span, 2006)
87,606 (Lift span, 2010)
79,996 (Truss span, 2010)
|Coordinates||Coordinates: (Suspension span)
The Triborough Bridge (sometimes spelled Triboro Bridge, officially Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Bridge), is a complex of three separate bridges in New York City, United States, carrying Interstate 278. Spanning the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill, and the Hell Gate (part of the East River), the bridges connect the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and The Bronx via Randall's Island and Wards Island, which are joined by landfill.
Often still referred to as simply the "Triboro" the spans were officially named after Robert F. Kennedy in 2008.
Plans for connecting Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx were first announced by Edward A. Byrne, chief engineer of the New York City Department of Plant and Structures, in 1916. While its construction had long been recommended by local officials, the Triborough Bridge did not receive any funding until 1925, when the city appropriated funds for surveys, test borings and structural plans.
Construction had begun on Black Friday in 1929, and the Triborough project's outlook began to look bleak. Othmar Ammann's assistance was enlisted to help simplify the structure. Ammann had collapsed the original two-deck roadway into one, requiring lighter towers, and thus, lighter piers. These cost-saving revisions saved $10 million on the towers alone. Using New Deal money, the project was resurrected in the early 1930s by Robert Moses and the bridge was opened to traffic on July 11, 1936.
The total cost of the bridge was more than $60 million, greater than that of the Hoover Dam, and was one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression. The structure used concrete from factories from Maine to Mississippi. To make the formwork for pouring the concrete, a whole forest on the Pacific Coast was cut down.
The American Society of Civil Engineers designated the Triborough Bridge Project as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1986. Motorists were first able to pay with E-ZPass in lanes for automatic coin machines at the Randall's Island toll plazas on August 21, 1996.
At some point in the past, a sign on the bridge informed travelers, "In event of attack, drive off bridge", New York Times columnist William Safire wrote in 2008. The "somewhat macabre sign", he wrote, must have "drawn a wry smile from millions of motorists."
On November 19, 2008, and pursuant to a request made by the Kennedy family, the Triborough Bridge was officially renamed after Robert F. Kennedy, who served New York as a senator, 40 years after his assassination.
On May 5, 2010, the NYPD closed the bridge and sent in the bomb squad to investigate a U-haul truck from which a man had reportedly fled. This investigation came days after a failed attempt at a car bombing in Times Square. A short time later, the NYPD deemed this incident nonthreatening and reopened the bridge.
The toll revenues from the Triborough Bridge pay for a portion of the public transit subsidy for the New York City Transit Authority and the commuter railroads. The bridge carries approximately 200,000 vehicles per day.
The bridge has sidewalks in all three legs where the TBTA officially requires bicyclists to walk their bicycles across due to safety concerns. However, the signs stating this requirement have been usually ignored by bicyclists, while the New York City Government has recommended that the TBTA should reassess this kind of bicycling ban. Stairs on the 2 km (1.2 mi) Queens leg impede handicapped access. The Queens stairway along the southern side was demolished at the beginning of the 21st century, thus isolating that walkway, but the ramp of the Wards Island end of the walkway along the northern side was improved in 2007. The two sidewalks of the Bronx span are connected to only one ramp at the Randalls Island end.
The Triborough Bridge carries the M35, M60 and X80 bus routes operated by MTA New York City Transit, and nine express bus routes operated by the MTA Bus Company, the BxM1, BxM2, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, BxM10, BxM11, BxM18, and X81.
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