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Photos Show Building Of The “New” Cross Bay Bridge

Concrete piers going up for the "new" concrete, fixed Cross Bay Bridge. 09/1968.
Concrete piers going up for the "new" concrete, fixed Cross Bay Bridge. 09/1968.

It was 45 years ago this September that the piers for the “new” Cross Bay Bridge appeared in Jamaica Bay.  The photos shown here are from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ Special Archive collection, and illustrate different views of the bridge under construction.

The old Cross Bay Bridge, with its see-saw, low-level bascule drawbridge, had a maximum clearance of only 20-feet. Boats taller than that required the bridge to be lifted. By the 1960s marine traffic had increased so much that it was being lifted more than 7,000 times a year, much to drivers’ dismay.

Construction on the new high-level, six-lane, fixed concrete bridge by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, now known as MTA Bridges and Tunnels, began in August 1967. The photos show the bridge’s piers more or less in place just a year later. 

The new bridge solved the problem of needing to perform multiple, daily bridge lifts by constructing the new structure with a 55-foot-high clearance.

The new Cross Bay Bridge opened to traffic May 28, 1970. It was renamed the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge on Memorial Day 1974 to honor military veterans.  

In 2012, the bridge, which connects the Broad Channel section of Queens to the Rockaways, was used by 7.5 million vehicles.

Placing concrete: Pier 16, looking southwest. 09/1968.
Placing concrete: Pier 16, looking southwest. 09/1968
General view of the new piers, looking south. 09/1968.
General view of the new piers, looking south. 09/1968
General view of detour road. 09/1968.
General view of detour road. 09/1968.