Throgs Neck span turns 50

Make a wish and blow out 50 candles for the Throgs Neck Bridge, as it celebrates its birthday on Tuesday, January 11.
Built as a key link in the interstate highway system, the suspension bridge first opened in 1961 and was the first major bridge of the postwar era. City officials, including Robert Moses, chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, built the bridge to try to relieve traffic on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, two miles to the west.
Moses had pushed to have the bridge open before the start of the 1964 World’s Fair, of which he was also the president. About 20 minutes after the ribbon cutting, the dignitaries sped across the new Throgs Neck Bridge for the second ceremony of the day – the dedication of the first World’s Fair structure at Flushing Meadow Park.
“We’re proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Throgs Neck, which plays an integral role daily in keeping traffic moving through this vital transportation corridor linking New York City with Long Island and New York’s northern counties,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara.
Time has taken its toll on the span, as it now costs $6.50 to cross the span – up from 25 cents when it first opened. The number of vehicles crossing the Throgs Neck has also skyrocketed, with 39 million drivers using the bridge in 2010 – up from 23 million in its first full year of operation.
The bridge consists of a center span that is 1,800 feet long and two side spans of 555 feet each, as well as a 4,100 foot roadway that connects the Cross Island Parkway and Clearview Expressway to Queens and Long Island.
Just in time for its half-century celebration, the Throgs Neck recently underwent a nearly $100 million upgrade that included replacing more than 140,000 feet of roadway deck and a major paint job that removed – under total environmental containment – all lead paint on the steel superstructure. The work, which is being done by Holmdel, N.J.-based contractor E.E. Cruz, is expected to be completed shortly, within budget and four months ahead of schedule, according to an MTA spokesperson.

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