Wednesday, May 20, 2015
#395 Henry Hudson Bridge over Spuyten Duyvil Creek
Henry Hudson Bridge over Spuyten Duyvil Creek
May 20, 2015, Rob Hickman, Sophie Lrits, Keith Nelson
The Henry Hudson Bridge is a steel arch toll bridge in New York City across the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. It connects Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx with Inwood in Manhattan to the south, via the Henry Hudson Parkway (NY 9A). On the Manhattan side, the parkway goes into Inwood Hill Park. Commercial vehicles are not permitted on this bridge, since commercial vehicles are not accepted on the parkway in general.
The bridge was designed by David B. Steinman, drawing upon his 1911 Ph.D. thesis in civil engineering at Columbia University. Named to commemorate the voyage of Henry Hudson on the Half Moon, which anchored near the site in 1609, it was the longest plate girder arch and fixed arch bridge in the world when it opened in 1936.
The bridge has two roadway levels carrying an aggregate of seven traffic lanes and a pedestrian walkway and spans Spuyten Duyvil Creek just east of where the tidal strait meets the Hudson River. The bridge is part of the Henry Hudson Parkway designated as New York State Route 9A. To its west, at five feet above water level, is the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, which is used by Amtrak trains heading to Albany, New York and other points north. The Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North station is located under the Henry Hudson Bridge on the Bronx side.
A bridge at this location was proposed as early as 1906, but Spuyten Duyvil residents and other civic groups opposed the bridge, arguing that it would destroy the virgin forest of Inwood Hill Park and bring traffic congestion to the communities on the Bronx side of the river. Meanwhile, Robert Moses preferred the route along the Hudson River because he was able to receive the land to build the Henry Hudson Parkway at no cost and use federal labor to construct the parkway. The construction of the bridge helped open the Riverdale neighborhood to development.
The original single-deck structure was built for the Henry Hudson Parkway Authority by the American Bridge Company at a cost of $4,949,000 and opened to traffic on December 12, 1936. The upper level of the bridge was designed to be added at a later date and opened to traffic on May 7, 1938. The second deck was added an additional cost of approximately $2,000,000, after increasing toll revenues enabled its construction.
The bridge is owned by the City of New York and operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A rehabilitation project commenced in 2000 and is being carried out by Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall a successor firm of Robinson & Steinman, the firm that originally designed and engineered the bridge.
In January 2010, the MTA announced that it planned to implement a pilot program on the Henry Hudson Bridge to phase out toll booths and use open road tolling. In January 20, 2011, this toll pilot project got underway. Drivers without E-ZPass are sent a bill in the mail; the new tolling system was implemented on November 10, 2012.
Starting on March 22, 2015, the cash tolls by mail must pay $5.50 per car or $3.25 per motorcycle. E‑ZPass users with transponders issued by the New York E‑ZPass Customer Service Center pay $2.54 per car or $1.73 per motorcycle. There is no toll to cross by unicycle.