Only 2,015 more to go...
As seen from the Rockaway Peninsula.
Spans: Brooklyn to Queens, The Rockaway Inlet of Jamaica Bay
The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge is a vertical lift bridge that crosses the Rockaway Inlet of Jamaica Bay, connecting the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens with Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. It is one of very few toll bridge in NYC, and carries four motor traffic lanes and a (free) 5’ wide foot/cyclepath on the western edge.
Built under the auspices of the Marine Parkway Authority in 1937, the bridge was designed by Aymar Embury II, who was also the architect of the Bronx-Whitestone and Triborough Bridges. In 1978, the bridge was renamed for Gil Hodges, the former first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Hodges retained his relationships in Brooklyn after the team moved to Los Angeles, later played for the New York Mets, and then managed them from 1968 until his death in 1972. We do love our baseball in NYC.
In 1938, the bridge’s first full year of operation, 1.9 million vehicles crossed the bridge; in 2006, 7.8 million did. The vertical lift was raised 157 times in 2006 to allow vessels to pass through the Rockaway Inlet. The center span is 540 feet long and is only 55 feet above the water but can be lifted up to a height of 150' feet above the water. When it opened, the bridge had the longest vertical lift span in the world; it is still the longest vertical lift span for vehicular traffic in North America.
Bridge Information from MTA info
Both ends of the bridge today are within the Gateway National Recreation Area connecting Floyd Bennett Field and Jacob Riis Park. Bridge traffic surges by more than 50 percent during the summer as city dwellers make their way to the beach.
Seen in the distance from the Shore Parkway
The M.T.A. offered this historical tidbit in a news release commemorating the Bridge’s 70th Anniversary:
The morning of July 3, 1937, marked the grand opening of the new Marine Parkway Memorial Bridge. With the sun shining and the N.Y.P.D. Police Band ready to play, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, Robert Moses, head of the Marine Parkway Authority and city Parks Commissioner and other officials, were getting ready to embark in a 500-car motorcade to christen the bridge.
There was excitement in the air as the band tuned up from its designated place on the bridge’s elevated lift span and invited guests got into cars on the Brooklyn side of the bridge along Flatbush Avenue for the inaugural ride across the span.
But the first vehicle to cross the bridge did not belong to the mayor or master builder Robert Moses, who helped make the bridge a reality. About 15 minutes before the ceremonies were scheduled to start, the first vehicles to cross the span were three engine companies from Brooklyn; summoned to help put out a five-alarm fire that destroyed two blocks of wooden concession stands along the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk.
Even before its official opening, the bridge proved it was an asset to the community. Mayor La Guardia pointed out that if the bridge wasn’t there, it would have taken the Brooklyn fire companies precious minutes to travel to the old Cross Bay Bridge, four miles to the east.
The Police Band, which scrambled off the lowered lift before the fire trucks screamed across the bridge, resumed their post and the ceremony went on as planned. A gun salute from nearby Fort Tilden announced the beginning of the event, which included a fireboat pumping streams of water into the air and a flyover by nine Martin bomber planes from nearby Mitchel Field.
Today, during the anniversary celebration, a Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department truck led the motorcade, the authority said, “in a nod to history.”
Quoted from the NY Times
View of Coney Island with the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the distance from the center span of the bridge.
Toll info Effective March 16, 2008
Rockaway Resident Token $1.40
Rockaway Resident E-Zpass $1.03
Toll Information from MTA info
Type of bridge: Vertical lift-span
Construction started: June 1, 1936
Opened to traffic: July 3, 1937
Length of main lift-truss span: 540 feet
Length of side truss spans: 540 feet
Total length of bridge and approaches: 4,022 feet
Number of traffic lanes: 4 lanes
Clearance at lift span above mean high water: 55 feet
Clearance at lift span in raised position: 150 feet
Steel used in through truss spans and towers: 7,600 tons
Steel used in deck truss spans: 3,800 tons
Concrete used in truss piers: 24,000 cubic yards
Concrete used in deck truss spans: 23,000 cubic yards
Cost of original structure: $12,170,000
Bridge Statistics from NYCRoads
View Larger Map
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Only 2,015 more to go...