Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

About the Bridge

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, is a cantilever truss bridge over the East River. It connects Manhattan and Queens and serves some of the busiest arteries in New York City. As of 2018, an average of over 145,500 vehicles, 5,000 cyclists, and 1,900 pedestrians travel over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge each day.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge expands over the East River from Queens to Manhattan

Bridge Facts

  • Total length: 3,725 feet
  • Total length including the approaches: 7,449 feet


Designed by the bridge engineer Gustav Lindenthal and architect Henry Hornbosted, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was constructed between 1901 and 1909. The bridge opened to traffic on June 18, 1909 as the longest cantilever bridge in the United States. This five span cantilever truss bridge, designed to accommodate heavier loads, is the only one of the four great East River Bridges that is not a suspension bridge.

The bridge is conveniently located over Roosevelt Island, which provides the perfect footing for the piers. 75,000 tons of steel went into the original bridge and its approaches. Its original cost was about $18 million, including $4.6 million for land.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge has two levels: the upper level of the bridge has four lanes of vehicular traffic, and the lower level has five traffic lanes consisting of four inner roadways and a southern outer lane. The north outer roadway serves as a pedestrian and bicycle path. Various alterations have been made over the years. During the 1930's, the lower inner roadway trolleys were removed and the roadway was reconstructed for vehicular traffic. In the 1950's the transit tracks were removed, north upper roadway and Queens Approach Ramps A, C, and D were built. In the 1950's trolley tracks were removed from the lower outer level and replaced with one lane roadway on each side, designated the north and south outer roadways.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was designated as a national landmark on November 23, 1973.

Current Project

Upper Deck Replacement

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge rehabilitation program continues under Contract No. 10. The project focuses on the replacement of the upper deck. The anticipated completion is late 2022.

Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Upper Deck Replacement Presentation (pdf)

Project Scope:

  • Upper deck replacement on main bridge
  • Upper deck rehabilitation on both approaches
  • Structural steel rehabilitation
  • Deck joints and barrier replacement
  • Lighting and drainage improvements
  • Incidental bridge painting
  • Fire standpipe system replacement


  • Night and daytime closures associated with this project will be announced periodically
  • The North Outer Roadway carrying pedestrians and bicyclists may be narrowed during off-peak hours by up to a maximum of 50 feet
  • The pedestrian and bicyclist path will always be available; however, pedestrians and bicyclists are advised to use caution
  • At least one lane in each direction on the upper and lower roadways will always be open

Construction Project Contact:

For more information about this project, please contact Anita Navalurkar, the community liaison for the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Rehabilitation/Contract No. 10, at QBBKochUpperDeckRehab@gmail.com or by calling 917-370-9770.

Previous Contracts

Picture and diagram of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge with labels to highlight where on the bridge work has been done under previous contracts.

5Contract 5 (1995-2000): Rehabilitation of Lower Outer Roadways main spans and approaches. Removal and replacement of roadway deck on North and South Outer Roadways. Replacement or reinforcement of stringers, floorbeams, tie angles, plates and bearings. Installation of new curbs, barriers and railings. Installation of new drainage system, $227M

6Contract 6 (2003-2008): Rehabilitation of Miscellaneous Components. Microsurfacing on upper Roadways, Rehabilitation Manhattan Approach Arch opening Infills West of First Avenue Arch on North & South Sides, Install Granite Bollards in Manhattan Approach Plaza at Kiosk, etc., $50M

7Contract 7 (Terminated): Queensboro Bridge Structural Seismic Retrofit Contract

8Contract 8 (2009-2010): Aviation Lights Replacements, $2M

9Contract 9 (2009-2010): Eyebar and Pin Investigation, $0.62M

Upcoming Contracts

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is continuously maintained in a State of Good Repair through capital projects and routine, in-house repairs to improve its components as they withstand weather conditions and vehicular traffic.

Mayor Bill De Blasio's "Bridges for the People" initiative to transform vehicular lanes into bicycles lanes is currently under evaluation by NYC DOT. Updates on the Ed Koch Queenboro Bridge South Outer Roadway Project