City Island Bridge

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City Island Bridge
CI Bridge from south of park jeh.jpg
Coordinates 40°51′23″N 73°47′36″W / 40.8563°N 73.7933°W / 40.8563; -73.7933Coordinates: 40°51′23″N 73°47′36″W / 40.8563°N 73.7933°W / 40.8563; -73.7933
Carries3 lanes of City Island Road
CrossesEastchester Bay
LocaleThe Bronx and City Island in New York City
Maintained byNew York City Department of Transportation
DesignSwing bridge
MaterialSteel and stone
Total length950 feet (290 m)
No. of spans7
Piers in water6
Clearance below8 feet (2.4 m)
Construction start1899
OpenedJuly 4, 1901[1]
ClosedDecember 18, 2015
Daily traffic14,473 (2016)[2]
City Island Causeway
New City Island Bridge Bronx 20180530-jag9889.jpg
Coordinates40°51′23″N 73°47′36″W / 40.856257°N 73.793291°W / 40.856257; -73.793291
Carries3 lanes of City Island Road
CrossesEastchester Bay
LocaleThe Bronx and City Island in New York City
Maintained byNew York City Department of Transportation
Construction start2015
OpenedOctober 29, 2017
City Island Causeway is located in New York City
City Island Causeway
City Island Causeway
Location in New York City
City Island Causeway is located in New York
City Island Causeway
City Island Causeway
City Island Causeway (New York)
City Island Causeway is located in the United States
City Island Causeway
City Island Causeway
City Island Causeway (the United States)

The City Island Bridge is a bridge in the New York City borough of the Bronx, connecting City Island with Rodman's Neck on the mainland. The name refers to two bridges: the original bridge was open from 1901 to 2015, and a new bridge which opened in 2017. A temporary bridge was used for the demolition and construction period between the original and new bridges.

Old bridge[edit]

Since the American Revolutionary War, there have been plans to link City Island with the mainland via means of a bridge.[3][4] Before the original bridge named "City Island Bridge" was opened, there was another, unnamed bridge connecting City Island with the rest of the Bronx. The opening date of this first bridge is unclear; some sources attest that it opened in 1873,[3][5] while one letter states that it opened in 1857—a disputed date since the letter's writer may have been referring to a past date.[4][6] This first bridge, which was definitely under planning in the 1860s,[3] was listed in an 1872 map.[4] It was a tolled drawbridge that was built partly out of wood from the USS North Carolina.[3] This bridge was located north of the 1899 bridge and connected to City Island at Bridge Street.[4] When the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation took over Pelham Bay Park in 1888, it claimed responsibility for maintenance over the western end of the bridge, which was located in the park.[4][7]

The second City Island Bridge, which was actually the first with that particular name, began construction in 1898 and was completed in 1901.[8] The $200,000 bridge was of stone and steel construction, and spanned 950 ft (290 m). It consisted of five fixed spans and a central swing section.[9] As originally built, the bridge's City Island end connected to City Island Avenue rather than at Bridge Street, and was located partially on landfill.[10] The bridge was the sole entry and exit for vehicles on City Island.[11] As such, it served both as a landmark and a gateway to City Island.[12]

The swing section was deactivated and turned into a fixed span in 1963.[4] In 1978–1979, a proposed renovation would have detonated explosives on the corroding piers,[13] but the plan was altered so that the piers would get heavy refurbishment instead.[4][14]

By 2002, the bridge was in bad shape, and city leaders held a meeting about the deteriorating bridge, showing images of corrosion on the supports, although the corrosion had since been fixed by that time. The bridge, which had been inspected in July 1999, had been deemed capable of carrying up to 50 long tons (56 short tons).[15] The city leaders listed four options for the bridge's future: one entailed renovating the existing span, while the other three were for new spans. The new span proposals included a conventional causeway-style bridge with four piers; an arch bridge with large foundations on either side of the water; and a cable-stayed bridge with a tower either 240 or 450 feet (73 or 137 m) high.[15]

Replacement: City Island Causeway[edit]

Sidewalk view of the now demolished 1901 bridge with "Welcome to City Island" sign

To replace the deteriorating bridge, the city originally intended to build a cable-stayed bridge, with a 150 ft (46 m) high tower, 13 ft (4.0 m) wide at the top, with a base of 26 ft (7.9 m). Vertical clearance above high water would be 12 ft (3.7 m).[16] The new bridge would be located in the same footprint as the existing bridge, although it would be 17 ft (5.2 m) wider to accommodate three standard-width traffic lanes, a bicycle lane and a pedestrian walkway.[16]

The original schedule was for the project to begin in 2007 with completion in 2010. The project was then postponed until June 2012.[17]:104-106[18] Due to the project postponement, during 2010 repairs were made to the existing bridge deck, piers, and west abutment.[17]:140 Due to a lack of funding the project was delayed once more until the city announced it would accept bids in late 2012, with Tutor Perini selected as general contractor in February 2013.[19] In 2005 the estimated cost of the project was $50 million.[20] In 2009 the estimate increased to $120 million due to redesigns and the addition of related projects.[21] The final bid came in at $102.7 million.[22]

Some residents, however, opposed the design of the cable-stayed bridge and felt that its tower would be out of character with the low-rise homes on City Island.[23] Opponents of the bridge design filed a lawsuit against the city on November 6, 2013. A Bronx Supreme Court judge granted a temporary injunction on that date.[24] In December 2013 the court lifted the injunction, but ruled that the city must conduct public hearings.[25] The city's prior consultations with the island community, which began during the early design stages, had been informal. The court's ruling requires the city to follow its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which includes local Community Board hearings.[26][27] On May 5, 2014, the original bridge plans were scrapped, and the de Blasio administration chose to go with a slightly cheaper and much shorter causeway-style bridge. The bridge, which was later approved, would be completed by 2017.[28][29]

A temporary steel bridge was erected in 2015, but a partial collapse in September delayed the opening of the temporary bridge.[30] On December 16, 2015, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) conducted a road test on the temporary steel bridge by running heavy equipment including fire trucks over the bridge.[31] The NYCDOT conducted the tests to ease residents' concerns about the integrity of the temporary structure.[31] Two days later on December 18, the original bridge was closed, and traffic was routed to the temporary bridge.[11][32] Shortly after that, the city began demolishing the original bridge, with the new bridge being constructed on the same site as the 1901 bridge.[11] The new bridge opened on October 29, 2017.[33]


  1. ^ "City Island Bridge Opened". The New York Times. July 5, 1901. p. 14. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  2. ^ "New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. 2016. p. 9. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Dolensek, Barbara (November 2000). "City Island Bridge Doomed?". The Island Current. 9 (29).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Draft 1A Archaeological Assessment - Rreplacement of City Island Road Bridge Over Eastchester Bay, Bronx, New York" (PDF). Joan H. Geismar, Ph.D., LLC. January 2005. p. 19. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Scott, Catherine A. (March 1, 2017). "City Island and Orchard Beach". Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. p. 42. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Roe, Zachariah, 1894. Letter in the archives of the City Island Historical Society, concerning the construction of the first bridge from the Bronx to City Island. Dated August 8, 1894.
  7. ^ "Board of Commissioners of the NYC Dept of Public Parks - Minutes and Documents: May 2, 1888 - April 26, 1889" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1903. p. 433. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Stephen (January 1, 1912). The story of the Bronx from the purchase made by the Dutch from the Indians in 1639 to the present day. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
  9. ^ "The New City Island Bridge. Work Begun Yesterday on the $200,000 Steel and Stone Structure". The New York Times. January 20, 1899. p. 4. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  10. ^ Baskerville, Charles A. (1987). Bedrock and engineering geologic maps of Bronx County and parts of New York and Queens counties, New York (Report). U.S. Geological Survey. Open-File Report 87-360.
  11. ^ a b c "DOT Press Releases – NYC DOT Officially Opens Temporary City Island Bridge In The Bronx". Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Kugel, Seth (October 20, 2002). "Neighborhood Report: City Island; A Bridge That's Ancient, Decaying And Adored by Its Users". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Dynamite Slated for Use in Bridge Repair". Island Current. XM. March 1978.
  14. ^ Civic Association (May 1979). Notice. City Island Historical Society.
  15. ^ a b Dolensek, Barbara (June 2002). "City Island Bridge To Be Rreplaced" (PDF). The Island Current. p. 5. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Dolensek, Barbara (April 2005). "Here Comes the Bridge" (PDF). The Island Current. p. 1. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  17. ^ a b New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)(2011). "2010 Bridges and Tunnels Annual Condition Report." Accessed January 30, 2012.
  18. ^ NYCDOT (2004). "2003 Bridges and Tunnels Annual Condition Report." p. 36. Accessed September 11, 2009.
  19. ^ Joel Russell (February 21, 2013). "Hurricane Sandy Drives Tutor Perini Results". San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  20. ^ H. Perahia, L. King, K. Batra, S. Jarosz (2005). "City Island Cable-Stayed Bridge in New York City." Presented at the 3rd New York City Bridge Conference, New York, September 12–13, 2005.
  21. ^ Lombardi, Frank (May 11, 2009). "Span plan crosses $120M: 'Signature' City Island bridge plan's all wet, critics say". Daily News. New York. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  22. ^ "Tutor Perini Announces Pending Award for $102.7 Million City Island Road Bridge Replacement" (Press release). Business Wire. February 21, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  23. ^ Bindley, Katherine (November 14, 2008). "For City Island Residents, a Planned Bridge Doesn't Fit". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  24. ^ Slattery, Denis (November 8, 2013). "City Island residents sue to block $102 million, 180-foot-tall bridge to mainland Bronx". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Slattery, Denis (December 27, 2013). "City Islanders hail ruling on proposed bridge as minor victory over city". New York Daily News.
  26. ^ Rocchio, Patrick (January 7, 2014). "Judge rules on City Island Bridge". Bronx Times. Bronx, NY. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  27. ^ Laterman, Kaya (April 4, 2014). "City Island Looks Ahead to Crossing New Bridge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  28. ^ Thornton McEnery (May 5, 2014). "City bows to pressure on controversial bridge plan". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  29. ^ Slattery, Denis (May 4, 2014). "Officials bridge differences with City Island residents". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  30. ^ "Partial collapse damages temporary City Island Bridge". News 12 Bronx. September 25, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  31. ^ a b "City Island Temporary Bridge Undergoes Load Test". WCBS-TV. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  32. ^ "City Island Residents Say Goodbye To Old Bridge As Concerns Persist About Temporary Replacement". Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  33. ^ "New City Island Bridge officially opens". News 12 The Bronx. October 29, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.

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