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  City Hall Library Notes, SEPTEMBER 2012

SPOTLIGHT ON: New York City Bridges

By Christine Bruzzese

According to the Encyclopedia of New York City, there are 2027 bridges which serve the city, 76 over water, 329 used by railroads, 1011 over land and others such as private pedestrian bridges. Since most of the city is located on islands, bridges are an important link for motorists, commuters and others. This article features some resources in the City Hall Library on bridges of New York City.

The Queensboro Bridge was completed in 1909, connecting Manhattan (59th and 60th Streets) with Long Island City in Queens. New York City Department of Bridges published Queensboro Bridge: Report on Design and Construction. The report discusses progress on the building of the bridge, provides information on materials used in construction, measurements and diagrams. It was published in 1908. Note that in 2010, the bridge was renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in honor of the former Mayor.

New York City Department of Transportation publishes New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes annually. Holdings cover 1976 to 2009 (published in 2011). This publication presents data on traffic volumes on 47 New York City bridges plus bridges and tunnels operated by MTA Bridges and Tunnels and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Historical statistics going back 50 years are included as well as reports on bridge reconstruction.

Manhattan Bridge: the Troubled Story of a New York Monument by Thomas R. Winpenny was published in 2003. This book chronicles the building of the bridge including various political and engineering issues and problems. The author then goes on to discuss the factors that contributed to the deterioration of the Manhattan Bridge structure, possible reconstruction plans and why these solutions are difficult to carry out.

Historical Facts in Connection with New York City Bridges, author(s) unknown, published circa 1920 offers background information and illustrations on lesser-known bridges. Learn about the Third Avenue, Little Neck and Macombs Dam bridges among others. Also included are data on expenditures, construction and utilization of these bridges.

Consult the City Hall Library catalog and vertical file for many other materials on bridges and the people involved in the construction and maintenance.

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