Newburgh-Beacon Bridge from Beacon, NY
|Official name||Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge|
|Carries||6 lanes of I-84 / NY 52|
|Locale||Newburgh, New York and Beacon, New York|
|Maintained by||New York State Bridge Authority|
|Design||Twin span Cantilever bridges|
|Total length||2,374 meters (7,789 feet)
2,394 meters (7,855 feet)
|Longest span||304.8 meters (1,000 feet)|
|Clearance below||135 feet|
|Opened||November 2, 1963
November 1, 1980 (eastbound)
|Toll||Cars $1.50 (eastbound only)|
The Newburgh–Beacon Bridge, (officially the Hamilton Fish Newburgh–Beacon Bridge) is a cantilever toll bridge that spans the Hudson River in New York State carrying NY 52 and Interstate 84 between Newburgh and Beacon. The first (westbound, north of other span) span was opened to traffic on November 2, 1963 as a two-lane (one in each direction) bridge.
Although original plans called for a four-lane bridge, funding difficulties resulted in the reduction in lanes. This span was designed by Modjeski & Masters and constructed by Frederick Snare, Drave and Bethlehem Steel.
By 1964, the original two-lane structure was already over capacity, and planning for additional capacity began in 1972. After considering doubledecking (which the original bridge was not designed for) the decision was taken by NYSBA to add a second parallel span south of the original.
The original span was made of steel that needs painting, but the newer span is made of "rusting" steel, (believed to be COR-TEN or a similar material although sources are not clear) which surface corrodes to a brown color and does not need painting as corrosion does not go deeper. On November 1, 1980, this second, parallel span, also designed by Modjeski & Masters but constructed by the American Bridge Company, was opened to traffic. The original span was closed for renovation, to add a lane and to paint it brown to match the color of the new span, from December 1980 to June 1984. In 1997, the bridge was officially renamed the Hamilton Fish Newburgh–Beacon Bridge. It is still more commonly referred to by its original name.
Today, then, there are actually two spans;
- The westbound (northern) bridge, opened in 1963 carrying one lane of traffic in each direction. Today it accommodates three 12-foot (3.7 m) travel lanes and with no shoulders. Variable lane-use signs allow the right lane to be designated as a breakdown lane at night and off-peak travel times. When the right lane is being used as a shoulder, a red X appears on the signs above it, while a green arrow illuminates when the lane is used for travel during peak times.
- The newer eastbound span was built with three 12-foot (3.7 m) travel lanes, a 10-foot (3.0 m) right shoulder, a 6-foot (1.8 m) left shoulder and pedestrian sidewalk separated from the roadway by a concrete barrier. Because the eastbound span was built with shoulders, there is no need to reduce the travel lanes to two during off-peak times.
The span provides connections to the New York State Thruway (Interstate 87) and US 9W in Newburgh and US 9 in Fishkill. The bridges includes a 2,204 foot (672 m) cantilever span, with a main span of 1,000 feet (305 m) and side spans of 602 feet (183 m). The total length of all spans and approaches is 7855 feet (2394 m) for the north span and 7789 feet (2374 m) for the south span.
The bridges, owned by the New York State Bridge Authority, carry six lanes of traffic and approximately 65,000 vehicles per day.
Eastbound passenger vehicles are charged a toll of $1.50 to cross the span. The toll plaza is located on the eastern (Beacon) shore.
Awards, records, and trivia
- The original bridge won the 1965 American Institute of Steel Construction "most beautiful bridge" award for long-span bridges. Modeski & Masters used a curved cantilever, not the more typical peaked cantilever used by the Tappan Zee Bridge and others.
- The newer bridge was claimed to be the longest bridge constructed of COR-TEN material when opened.
- As of late 2005, the bridge spans are the 19th-longest cantilever spans in the world.
- The bridge is named after Hamilton Fish, former Governor of New York, United States Senator and United States Secretary of State.
- Suicide attempts have become more frequent in the last decade, so officials installed call boxes along the bridge in hopes of reducing them.
- The western terminus of the bridge is not in the City of Newburgh, but in the Town of Newburgh. The boundary of the City of Newburgh is less than a hundred yards to the south.
- The eastern terminus is within the Limits of the City of Beacon, by a few feet. By the time eastbound motorists have reached the first exit on the east shore, Exit 11, they have passed into the Town of Fishkill.
- The pedestrian walkway, open dawn to dusk, is popular with local hikers, joggers, and bicyclists. The Bridge Authority provided two parking lots, just north of the overpass on either side of Grand Avenue on the west side of the bridge. New York State Bicycle Route 17 crosses the Hudson River on the Newburgh–Beacon Bridge.
- Stengren, Bernard (1963-11-03). "Ceremony Opens Newburgh Span; New Bridge is Formally Opened". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Newburgh-Beacon Bridge". New York State Bridge Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "A New Bridge Is Added to an Old One Between Two Hudson Cities". New York Times. 1980-11-01. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "State Bicycle Route 17 Maps". New York State Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
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