January 11, 2013
The High Bridge is a multiple-span arch bridge built in the late 19th century in the style of the Roman aqueducts. It is the oldest surviving bridge in New York City, and was built as part of the Croton Aqueduct that originally supplied the City with water.
Rehabilitating the bridge will encompass improvements for both safety and aesthetics. Safety improvements will include the installation of new structural support beams, replacing worn rivets and bearings, and the repair of masonry which still exists on parts of the bridge. Aesthetic improvements will include new architectural and navigational lighting, the rehabilitation of the herringbone-patterned historic brick pavers, and new paint.
"Bringing the High Bridge up to modern standards while preserving its historic character is a challenging bit of civil engineering—but one that will pay dividends for generations to come," said Commissioner Burney at the event.
This historic restoration project focuses on two important elements: safely opening the bridge once again to pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Manhattan and the Bronx, and educating visitors about the history of the bridge and the Croton Aqueduct. Since the bridge, currently closed, provides a connection between the High Bridge Park, in Manhattan, and to the Bronx, it has long been an unofficial passageway for Bronx children seeking shelter from the summer heat in the pool at Highbridge Park. This rehabilitation will provide them, along with the thousands of other visitors to the bridge once it opens, with a beautiful, open space to traverse the two boroughs.
"The $61 million restoration of this this bridge, and its reopening to pedestrians and cyclists, will also open up new opportunities for communities on both sides of the river. It will bring people here from all over the five boroughs, and even all over the world, to see some of the most spectacular views in the city," said Mayor Bloomberg.