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MTA's Flagship Robert F. Kennedy/Triborough Bridge Celebrating 75 Years

<p>Despite being a septuagenarian, MTA's flagship bridge, the Robert F. Kennedy/Triborough Bridge is ready for a celebration!</p>

<p>The bridge, which turns 75 on Monday, July 11, is the subject of a special photography exhibit that will open on its birthday at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. The exhibit, titled: "A Planner's Dream, an Engineer's Triumph, a Legacy to our City," will feature images from MTA Bridges and Tunnels' Special Archive which are rarely seen by the public.</p>

<p>The exhibit, sponsored jointly by MTA Bridges and Tunnels and the Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS), will be on display at the Historical Society's Quinn Gallery in Long Island City through October.</p>

<p>In the evening on July 11th, a roundtable historical discussion will take place at the Historical Society's main lecture hall at 7 p.m., followed by a question and answer session. Participants will include the MTA, representatives from the Regional Plan Association and Borough historians from Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.</p>

<p>"This is a perfect way to bring the three communities that the RFK Bridge serves together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of our oldest bridge, which played such a vital role in the development of modern New York City history," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President James Ferrara.</p>

<p>MTA Bridges and Tunnels is also sponsoring an oral history project and encourages those with memories from opening day or of the bridge being built to contact the agency via email at <a href="mailto:bridgememories@mtabt.org">bridgememories@mtabt.org</a> or by calling 646 252-7420.</p>

<p>Finally, on September 17th, Greater Astoria Historical Society, in cooperation with MTA Bridges and Tunnels, the Bronx Historical Society and Forgotten New York, will host a walking tour on the bridge's pedestrian walkways, with separate groups starting in the Bronx and Manhattan and meeting on Randall's Island. Participants will continue on to Astoria Park, the site of the original ground breaking.</p>

<p>When the Triborough Bridge opened in 1936, it was among the most significant public works projects built during the Great Depression. It costs $60.3 million to build. Designed by George Washington Bridge builder Othmar H. Ammann, the Triborough Bridge quickly became a link to the emerging parkway system in Long Island and was a factor in the development of the island‘s suburban communities.</p>

<p>In 1937, its first full-year of operation, 11 million vehicles crossed the bridge; the toll was a quarter. In 2010 more than 60 million vehicles traveled across the RFK's spans where the crossing charge is now $6.50 cash or $4.80 with E-ZPass.</p>

<p>The bridge, which was renamed in honor of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 2008, is technically three bridges, a viaduct and 14 miles of approach roads connecting Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. It includes a suspension span over the East River connecting Manhattan and Queens; the Harlem River Lift span in Manhattan, and a fixed truss bridge over the Bronx Kills to the Bronx.</p>

<p>A huge traffic junction on Randall's Island, where the three branches of the bridge intersect, links to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens, the FDR Drive in Manhattan and the Bruckner and Major Deegan Expressways in the Bronx.</p>

<p>The 75-year-old bridge will undergo nearly $1 billion in capital improvement projects over the next 15 years. The largest portion, an estimated $700 million, is for the reconstruction of bridge structures supporting the Manhattan and Bronx toll plazas. Actual roadway work on the Bronx plaza is expected to begin in 2014, while the Manhattan plaza will be rehabilitated starting in 2019.</p>

<p><div style="width:390px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/AstoriaPark1932.jpg" alt="Triborough Bridge Astoria Park Photo"><br />Triborough Bridge Astoria Park: Inside Astoria Park, at start of digging Main Tower Pier 27. Gentlemen in photo not identified. January 26, 1932. Photographer unknown.</div></p>

<p><div style="width:500px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/Harlem-River-Lift.jpg" alt="Harlem River Lift Photo"><br />Triborough Bridge Harlem River Lift@125th Street: View of on and off ramps at Triborough Bridge's Harlem River Lift Span, looking east along 125th Street. October 1, 1936. Photographer unknown.</div></p>

<p><div style="width:390px;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archive/imgs/Triborough1935.jpg" alt="Triborough Bridge Suspended Span Photo"><br />Triborough Bridge Suspended Span: Getting ready to put in the roadbed at the Triborough Bridge's suspended span. 1935. Photographer unknown.</div>
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