Throgs Neck Bridge New York Architecture Images-New York Bridges

Throgs Neck Bridge

  Contemporary black and white images on this page copyright Dave Frieder ( ). Special thanks to Dave Frieder for permission to use images.


Othmar Ammann


between the Bronx and Queens




Structural Expressionism, International Style II  




Suspension Bridge


Type Suspension   Year Opened Jan 1961
# of Decks 1   # of lanes/tracks 6
Total Length 13410 ft   Main Span Length 1800 ft
Highway/RR     Misc  
Toll $3.50 each way  


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  Dave Frieder Gallery. Copyright Dave Frieder ( )


Opened in 1961, the Throgs Neck Bridge was built between the Bronx and Queens to ease congestion on the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. Traffic on each of these bridges now exceeds the number of vehicles carried by just the Bronx Whitestone when it stood alone.

Astride the meeting place of the East River and Long Island Sound, the bridge serves as a vital link in the city's interstate highway system. On the Bronx side it feeds into the Cross Bronx and Bruckner expressways, the Hutchinson River Parkway, and the New England Thruway, providing access to New Jersey, upstate New York, Westchester County. and New England. On the Queens side it feeds the Cross Island Parkway, the Clearview and Long Island expressways, and the Grand Central Parkway, which lead, respectively, to Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and points west.

The bridge's Bronx neighborhoods are the residential communities of Throgs Neck and Locust Point and the S.U.N.Y. Maritime College at Fort Schuyler. On the Queens side are the residential communities of Beechhurst, Bayside, and Little Bay Park, as well as historic Fort Totten. The name Throgs Neck was derived from that of John Throckmorton, who settled in the area in 1643.

THE NEWEST EAST RIVER SPAN: Unlike many bridges proposed by Robert Moses, the Throgs Neck Bridge was not part of the circumferential highway network proposed in 1929 by the Regional Plan Association (RPA). With the postwar era dawning, Moses proposed a series of new bridges and connecting expressways to meet anticipated growth in vehicular traffic. One proposal in his 1945 plan had a "Throgs Neck" span situated two miles east of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

Although Moses received a windfall from his Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), he needed additional Federal and state funds to fulfill his ambitious plans. Unlike his earlier arterial proposals, he received neither immediate funding nor unanimous support. The turning point came in the mid-1950's, when the Federal Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) expressed interest in building the Interstate highway system. Believing that he could obtain Federal and state funds for his arterial proposals, some of which had been shelved for years, Moses pitched a joint plan developed by the TBTA and the Port of New York Authority before the BPR.

In 1955, the
Joint Study of Arterial Facilities, which was chaired by Moses, recommended a new crossing at the mouth of the East River between Bayside, Queens and Fort Schuyler in the Bronx. The specifications were as follows:

The recommended crossing would be a six-lane suspension bridge. The center of the structure would be 3,100 feet long and the side spans each 900 feet long. Including anchorages, the bridge would extend 5,200 feet. The low ground on both the Bronx and Queens sides of the East River calls for long approach viaducts - 3,900 feet long in the Bronx and 2,800 feet long in Queens. It is estimated that the Throgs Neck Bridge could be completed within three and one-half years after it is financed.

According to the Joint Study, the Throgs Neck Bridge project would include construction of the Clearview and Throgs Neck expressways, and extensions of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

By the time the Joint Study was released, nearby East River crossings were already operating at or above capacity. Annual traffic volume on the Triborough Bridge had exceeded 38 million vehicles, while that on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge neared 30 million vehicles. After vigorous opposition from community groups on both sides of the East River, construction on the new bridge began in 1957.

Two alternate designs for the Throgs Neck Bridge. LEFT: The original 1955 design by Othmar Ammann featured taller towers, a 3,100-foot-long main suspension span and 900-foot-long side spans. RIGHT: This 1957 design by John P. Peterkin featured corduroy-textured towers (part of a 1950's design convention) with squared-off portals. (Photo renditions by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.)

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: Once again, Moses commissioned Othmar Ammann for bridge design work. In approaching the design of his first long-span suspension bridge since the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster, Ammann was fully aware of public fears about deck movement. For the Throgs Neck Bridge, he employed a more conservative design. In many respects, the design of the Throgs Neck Bridge is similar to that of the retrofitted Bronx-Whitestone Bridge two miles to the west.

The Throgs Neck Bridge was designed with a 28-foot-deep stiffening truss. The raising of the deck began at each tower and proceeded simultaneously toward midspan and the approach roads. The single-deck structure carries six lanes of vehicular traffic that rest on a series of laterally arranged transverse floor trusses. These transverse trusses are framed into two longitudinal stiffening trusses located in the vertical planes of the suspension cable. A lateral system of stiffening trusses between the top and bottom chords of the truss provides additional bracing. Together, the system of lateral, longitudinal and transverse trusses forms a rigid frame that offers sample resistance to load and wind forces. The concrete pavement rests atop this extensive truss system, providing motorists with unobstructed views of New York City and Long Island Sound.

The two 360-foot-tall towers, which are only 22 feet shorter than those of the older Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, are built of two steel columns of closed-box construction. The towers of the Throgs Neck are tied together at the top with segmented arch portal struts, and just below the deck with squared-off struts, giving them a tauter appearance than the Bronx-Whitestone towers. The two suspension cables rest on saddles atop the towers. Protective housings not only protect the saddles, but also serve as navigational lanterns.

The two 3,205-foot-long suspension cables support the 1,800-foot main span and two 555-foot side spans (a truncation from the originally planned 3,100-foot main span and 900-foot side spans) some 142 feet over the East River. Each cable, which measures 23 inches in diameter, contains 37 strands of 296 galvanized steel wires. More than 13,000 miles of wire were used in the assembly of the cables.

The anchorages of the Throgs Neck Bridge, like those of the nearby Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, are austere in design. Each of the concrete anchorages, which measure 140 feet wide by 200 feet long by 150 feet high, weighs approximately 170,000 tons.

The approach viaducts to the Throgs Neck Bridge consist of continuous plate-girder spans carried on reinforced concrete piers. Sections of the approaches were constructed off-site in South Plainfield, New Jersey and shipped by rail to Jersey City before they were floated to the site by barge. The approaches consist of 12,357 tons of structural steel. Together, the bridge and approach roads form the shape of a "reverse S." On the Queens side, the TBTA moved 421 homes from the right-of-way of the Clearview Expressway to the site of the Bayside and Oakland golf courses. On the Bronx side, the TBTA obtained a right-of-way easement from SUNY-Maritime at Fort Schuyler in exchange for an adjacent landfill project on their property. Material dredged from the East River for the bridge footings was used for the new landfill.