Throgs Neck Bridge

Throgs Neck Bridge
ThrogsNeckBridge.jpg
Throgs Neck Bridge from Fort Totten
Coordinates40°48′07″N 73°47′35″W / 40°48′07″N 73°47′35″W / 40.802; -73.793[1]
Statistics
Daily traffic119,249 (2016)[2]
TollAs of March 31, 2019, $9.50 (Tolls By Mail and non-New York
Location within New York City

The Throgs Neck Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City, carrying six lanes of Interstate 295 (I-295) over the East River where it meets the Long Island Sound. The bridge connects the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx with the Bay Terrace section of Queens.

Opened on January 11, 1961, it is the newest bridge across the East River and was built to relieve traffic on the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge, 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west. The Throgs Neck Bridge is also the easternmost crossing of the East River. Due to this and its proximity to I-95, it is the closest route from Long Island to New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge, as well as points north.

The Throgs Neck Bridge is owned by the government of New York City and operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

Description

The anchorage (left) and suspension tower (right) on the Queens side of the Throgs Neck Bridge

The Throgs Neck Bridge was designed by structural engineer Othmar Ammann, who also designed the George Washington, Bronx–Whitestone, Verrazzano-Narrows, and Triborough Bridges in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Queens to the south and the Bronx to the north, and is the third vehicular bridge to be constructed between Queens and the Bronx, after the Triborough and Bronx–Whitestone Bridges.[3]:127 The bridge is a suspension bridge with six lanes, three in each direction.[4] Each three-lane roadway is 37 feet (11 m) wide, and the two directions of traffic are divided by a 4-foot-wide (1.2 m) barrier. The roadway is paved with asphalt.[3]:133 There is no pedestrian or bicyclist access of any kind.[5][6] The Throgs Neck Bridge is a toll bridge; it originally had tollbooths on the Bronx side,[1] but these were replaced by open road tolling gantries in 2017.[7]

Design

The Throgs Neck Bridge was not bound by any maritime constraints and as a result, did not need to be as long as other Ammann-designed bridges in New York City.[3]:129 The center span is 1,800 feet (550 m), and the distance between each suspension tower and anchorage is 555 feet (169 m), with an anchorage-to-anchorage total length of 2,910 feet (887 m).[8][9][10] The bridge contains two long approach ramps, one on either bank, because both the Bronx and Queens are located on low elevations. The Throgs Neck Bridge has a 3,900-foot (1,200 m) approach ramp in the Bronx, curving over the SUNY Maritime College at Fort Schuyler on the Throggs Neck peninsula, as well as a 2,800-foot (850 m) ramp directly east of Cryder's Point in Bay Terrace, Queens.[11] Including approaches, the bridge spans more than 2 miles (3.2 km).[3]:127

The span is supported by two main cables, which suspend the deck and are held up by the suspension towers. Each main cable contains 37 strands, with each strand made of 296 individual wires, for a total of 10,952 wires per main cable.[1][12] The main cables weigh 1,790 short tons (1,600 long tons; 1,620 metric tons) each.[12] At each end of the suspension span are two anchorages that hold the main cables, both of which are freestanding concrete structures measuring 250 by 350 feet (76 by 107 m).[13] The bridge's Bronx anchorage is at the tip of Throggs Neck, and the towers are located in the middle of the Long Island Sound.[11] The Queens anchorage is located off the shore of Fort Totten, in the East River.[13]

The suspension towers of the Throgs Neck Bridge are of closed-box construction with arched struts at the top of each tower. The tops of the suspension towers are sharp and blocky atop the struts, and there are flattened segmental arches on the underside of the struts.[3]:129 Both suspension towers are located on artificial concrete islands in the East River, which are 20 feet (6.1 m) above mean high water.[14] Each suspension tower rises 326 feet (99 m) above the islands,[15] or 346 feet (105 m) above mean high water.[14] A colony of peregrine falcons have lived at the tops of the suspension towers since at least 1983, when they were first spotted.[16] They are thought to have nested there because the tops of the towers resembled their natural habitat of high cliffs.[17]

Instead of employing a rather streamlined-looking plate-girder system, Ammann constructed the Throgs Neck Bridge with 28-foot-deep (8.5 m) stiffening transverse trusses under the deck. These served as counterweights to the bridge and allowed any wind to simply blow through, instead of against, the bridge.[3]:129 The asphalt roadway lies atop a 5-inch-thick (13 cm) deck, which consists of dozens of panels that lie directly above the trusses.[3]:133

Road connections

The Throgs Neck Bridge was one of the few that were not part of the plans for the Belt Parkway around Queens and Brooklyn.[3]:125 Instead, the bridge was built along with the Clearview Expressway in Queens and the eastern part of the Cross Bronx Expressway in the Bronx.[18]

The Throgs Neck Bridge carries Interstate 295 (I-295). On the Queens side, the bridge connects to the southbound Clearview Expressway (I-295) and the eastbound Cross Island Parkway. There is no direct connection to the westbound Cross Island Parkway or from the Cross Island Parkway service roads in either direction. On the Bronx side, there are connections to and from the community of Throggs Neck. The northbound entrance and exit leads to the Throgs Neck Expressway service road, while the southbound exit and entrance leads from the intersection of the Throgs Neck Expressway service road and Harding Avenue. Immediately afterward, the highway splits into the Throgs Neck Expressway (I-695), which connects to northbound I-95; and I-295, which connects to southbound I-95, westbound I-278, and northbound Hutchinson River Parkway at the Bruckner Interchange.[19]

Traffic restrictions

As of 2015, the Throgs Neck Bridge has a height limit of 14 feet 7 inches (4.45 m) for southbound vehicles and 15 feet 1 inch (4.60 m) for northbound vehicles. The maximum width of any vehicle is 15 feet 0 inches (4.57 m). Tractor-trailers exceeding 53 feet and traveling between Long Island and the Bronx are required to use the Throgs Neck Bridge.[20] A weight limit is imposed on heavy vehicles traveling on the bridge. The MTA allows 6 and 7-axle trucks with less than 105,000 lb (48,000 kg) of gross vehicle weight, and 5-axle trucks with less than 102,000 lb (46,000 kg) of gross vehicle weight, if they have valid divisible-load permits. Trucks carrying less than 80,000 lb (36,000 kg) may also use the bridge, but all heavy loads are speed-restricted to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) and must use the center lane of the bridge. Heavy trucks carrying more than 80,000 lb without permits are prohibited from using the Throgs Neck Bridge.[21]

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