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Throgs Neck Bridge Turns 52 This Month

The Throgs Neck Bridge, built as a key link in the metropolitan region's burgeoning interstate highway system, turns 52 this month. The graceful suspension bridge, which connects the Bronx to Queens and Long Island, opened to traffic on Jan. 11, 1961. It was the first major bridge of the postwar era.

Archival image of Throgs Neck Cable Construction

The idea for the bridge was the result of a 1955 joint study by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to help keep traffic moving in the region. The Throgs Neck was the first recommendation made by the joint study to come to fruition. The lower level of the George Washington Bridge opened in 1962 and the Verrazano-Narrows opened in 1964.

It took three years, two months and 20 days to build the Throgs Neck Bridge. Robert Mosses, chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, who was also president of the 1964 World's Fair, pushed to have it opened in time for the fair's opening. The day the bridge opened to traffic, Moses, Mayor Robert f. Wagner and other dignitaries cut a ribbon and then crossed the bridge to the second ceremony of the day, dedication of the first World's Fair structure at Flushing Meadow Park.

The bridge, which cost $92.5 million to build, consists of an 1,800 foot long center span, a 4,100 foot roadway that connects the Cross Island Parkway and Clearview Expressway to Queens and Long Island and a 6,400-foot roadway which passes over the Throgs Neck peninsula and Long Island Sound, connecting to the Cross-Bronx and Throgs Neck Expressways in the Bronx. The bridge towers are 360-feet above mean high water.

The Throgs Neck Bridge is named for the area in the Bronx settled by John Throckmorton in 1640. The “neck” part of its name comes from the peninsula off the Bronx where the State University of New York Maritime College is located.

The consulting engineers for the suspension part of the bridge were Ammann & Whitney. E. Lionel Pavlo designed the approach roadways and Emil H. Praeger designed the foundations. The consulting architects were Aymar Embury II, A. Gordon Lorimer, John B. Peterkin and Theodore J. Young.

The bridge is a main link in the regional transportation system connecting New York City, Long Island and upstate New York and is used by about 40.5 million vehicles yearly.

Archival Throgs Neck PhotoArchival Throgs Neck Photo