Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bridge of the Week #16: 145 St. Bridge

The bridge for this week (actually this should have been last week) is, I'm pretty sure, the newest bridge in the city - the 145 St. Bridge. This bridge crosses the Harlem River, joining the intersection of 145 St. and Lenox Ave. in Manhattan with 149 St. and River Ave. in the Bronx.

The 145 st. Bridge is a swing bridge with two lanes of traffic in each direction and a sidewalk on each side. The main span is 300 feet long, and the total length is 1,603 feet. The original bridge on the site was built from 1901-1905. It was designed by Alfred Boller, who also designed the University Heights Bridge, Macombs Dam Bridge and Madison Ave. Bridge, and was to be modeled after the Macomb's Dam Bridge, but without the ornamentation, and powered by electricity rather than steam. Like the other Harlem River bridges, it was designed to comply with requirements for the Harlem River Ship Channel, opened in 1895.

Work to rebuild the bridge began in July 2004, with total closure taking place in November 2006, and reopening in June 2007. The swing span (constructed off-site and floated to the bridge site) and approach spans were completely replaced, as were the machinery and electrical systems. A plaque above the roadway in each direction reads "145 St. Bridge, 2007".

On the Manhattan side of the bridge is Harlem, as it blends with Washington Heights. It is a very interesting neighborhood and there are small parks nearby, including a relatively short riverwalk south of the bridge, reachable from 139th St., but there are no major landmarks nearby. Actually, as Lenox Ave. crosses 146 St. it is renamed Esplanade Gardens Plaza, but rather than an esplanade, garden or a plaza, there is a large apartment building on one side, and a construction site where there used to be a bus depot on the other side. The 3 train dos have a station at 145th and Lenox.
On the Bronx side is chiefly an industrial area, although about a quarter mile to the north on River Dr. is a new big-box shopping center - runners beware of the traffic - and about a half mile north of the bridge is Yankee Stadium and Macombs Dam Park (which can be reached directly from Macombs Dam Bridge). Three blocks to the east of the bridge is the Grand Concourse, where you can catch the 2, 4 or 5 train at the 149th St. station, Hostos Community College is there, and just to the north is Franz Siegel Park.

For runners, the 145 St. Bridge can be part of a very interesting workout of running across all or many of the Harlem River bridges, as the Willis Ave. Bridge, 3rd Ave. Bridge, Madison Ave. Bridge, 145 St. Bridge and Macombs Dam Bridge all follow in close succession, the Washington Bridge, University Heights Bridge and Broadway Bridge within a few miles to the north, and the Triboro Bridge nearby to the south.
Pics: 1. The original 145 St. Bridge; 2. The new span being floated under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

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