Route map: Bing
(Robert F. Kennedy Bridge)
|Carries||8 lanes of I-278
6 lanes of NY 900G
|Crosses||East River, Harlem River and Bronx Kill|
|Locale||New York City, United States|
|Official name||Robert F. Kennedy Bridge|
|Other name(s)||Triborough Bridge, RFK Triborough Bridge, Triboro Bridge|
|Maintained by||MTA Bridges and Tunnels|
|Design||Suspension bridge, lift bridge, and truss bridge|
|Total length||2,780 feet (850 m) (Queens span)
770 feet (230 m) (Manhattan span)
1,600 feet (490 m) (Bronx span)
|Width||98 feet (30 m) (Queens span)|
|Longest span||1,380 feet (420 m) (Queens span)
310 feet (94 m) (Manhattan span)
383 feet (117 m) (Bronx span)
|Clearance above||14 feet 6 inches (4.42 m) (Queens / Bronx spans)
13 feet 10 inches (4.22 m) (Manhattan span)
|Clearance below||143 feet (44 m) (Queens span)
135 feet (41 m) (Manhattan span when raised)
55 feet (17 m) (Bronx span)
|Opened||July 11, 1936|
|Daily traffic||169,393 (Queens span, 2012)
90,956 (Manhattan span, 2012)
78,437 (Bronx span, 2012)
|Toll||As of March 22, 2015, $8.00 (cash); $5.54 (New York State E-ZPass)|
The Triborough Bridge, known officially as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge since 2008, and sometimes referred to as the RFK Triborough Bridge, is a complex of three separate bridges in New York City, United States, carrying Interstate 278 and New York State Route 900G. Spanning the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill, and the Hell Gate (a strait of the East River), the bridges connect the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx via Randalls and Wards Islands, which are joined by landfill.
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 such a bridge complex's construction had long been recommended by local officials, the project failed to receive funding until 1925, when the city appropriated money for surveys, test borings and structural plans.
Construction began on Black Friday in 1929, but soon the Triborough project's outlook began to look bleak. Othmar Ammann, who had collapsed the original design's two-deck roadway into one, requiring lighter towers, and thus, lighter piers, saving $10 million on the towers alone, was enlisted again to help guide the project. Using New Deal money, it was resurrected in the early 1930s by Robert Moses, who created the Triborough Bridge Authority to fund, build and operate it. The completed structure was opened to traffic on July 11, 1936.
The total cost of the bridge was more than $60 million, one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression, more expensive even than the Hoover Dam. 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 Randalls 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, the Triborough Bridge was officially renamed after Robert F. Kennedy at the request of the Kennedy family. Forty years had passed since the New York United States Senator and former U.S. Attorney General had been assassinated during a 1968 presidential bid. Many traffic and news reports have come to commonly refer to the bridge as the "RFK Triborough Bridge" to avoid confusion among residents long accustomed to its original name.
On May 5, 2010, the New York City Police Department 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.
Beginning on March 22, 2015, cash tolls on the bridge will be $8.00 per car or $3.25 per motorcycle. E‑ZPass users with transponders issued by the New York E‑ZPass Customer Service Center will pay $5.54 per car or $2.41 per motorcycle.
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: BxM1, BxM2, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, BxM10, BxM11, and BxM18.
In the 1920s, New York's Transit Commission considered extending the BMT Astoria Line along the same route the Triborough now follows. The proposal would have created a crosstown line along 125th Street.
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