South Grand Island Bridge

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South Grand Island Bridge
Twin spans of the South Grand Island Bridge, which cross the Niagara River in five sky-blue steel arches. The central arch is above the roadway permitting passage of large freight ships.
South Grand Island Bridge from Grand Island (from northwest; Niagara River flows left, northeast)
Carries Four lanes of I-190 / NY 324
Crosses Niagara River
Locale Tonawanda, New York and Grand Island, New York
Maintained by New York State Thruway Authority
Design Twin truss arch bridges
Total length 3,400 feet (1,036 m)
Longest span 182 m
Opened
  • 1935 (southbound span)
  • 1963 (northbound span)
Toll $1.00 (northbound) (E-ZPass)
Coordinates 42°59′54″N 78°56′14″W / 42.99833°N 78.93722°W / 42.99833; -78.93722

The South Grand Island Bridge is a pair of twin two-lane truss arch bridges spanning the Niagara River between Tonawanda and Grand Island in New York, United States. Each bridge carries one direction of Interstate 190 (I-190) and New York State Route 324 (NY 324). Both crossings are operated by the New York State Thruway Authority as part of the Niagara Thruway. The southbound span was opened in 1935 and acquired by the State of New York in 1950. The northbound span was finished in 1963. A northbound-only toll is collected on the Tonawanda side of the bridge.

Description[edit]

The bridges are twin truss arch bridges with a steel through-arch in the middle. Both crossings have a 93-foot (28 m) navigation clearance,[1] which was designed to allow tall lake freighters and tanker ships to pass beneath it. A toll is collected from all northbound traffic at a six-lane toll plaza on the Tonawanda side of the bridge. Lanes one and six are reserved for E-ZPass customers; the remainder are manned booths.

History[edit]

The southbound bridge was completed in 1935. Mr. Frank J. Offermann, Sr., the former Sheriff of Erie County, owner of the Buffalo Bisons Ball Club and prominent resident of Grand Island was active in getting the bridges sanctioned. Also in 1935 after his untimely death, Supervisor Messmer proposed changing the name of the boulevard connecting the Grand Island Bridges to Offermann Drive, however this was never done, reference Buffalo Courier Express Feb 14, 1935. [2] as a two-lane, two-way structure carrying NY 325 from Tonawanda to Grand Island.[3] It became part of NY 324 by 1937.[4] In 1950, the State of New York assumed ownership of the bridge as part of the Niagara Thruway's construction.[citation needed] A twin bridge erected to the northeast of the original structure was completed in 1963,[5] at which time all northbound traffic was moved onto the new crossing and the 1935 span became southbound-only.

Profile of South Grand Island Bridge. Two sky-blue steel spans cross the river in five arches. The central arch alone is above the roadway, permitting passage of large freight ships.
South Grand Island Bridge from Isle View Park in Tonawanda (view upstream, from northeast)
The 1935 span that now carries southbound traffic is behind the 1963 northbound span.

While the twin bridges were built decades apart, they appear nearly identical. It is clear that builders in the 1960s took great care in matching the original 1930s architecture, but there are slight differences. The 1935 bridge has stone cutwaters on the piers, while the 1963 bridge has steel-faced cutwaters.[1] Also, renovations of the southbound bridge have created a guard rail that looks quite different from the one on the northbound bridge.

The northbound span was renovated by American Bridge Company from 2008 to 2010.[6] American Bridge Company replaced the deck (road), sidewalk, and barriers as part of a $48 million project.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "South Grand Island Bridges". HistoricBridges.org. May 28, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ Staff (2012). "NBI Structure Number: 5043981". National Bridge Inventory. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Shell Oil Company (1935). Niagara Falls and Vicinity (Map). Cartography by H.M. Gousha Company. http://www.ontarioroadmaps.ca/Oil_Companies/Shell/1935/Niagara.jpg. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  4. ^ Standard Oil Company (1937). New York (Map). Cartography by General Drafting.
  5. ^ Staff (2012). "NBI Structure Number: 5043982". National Bridge Inventory. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Kates, Tasha (August 7, 2007). "Grand Island Bridges: Structures are in need of repair". Tonawanda News. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Thruway Authority Announces South Grand Island Bridge, Northbound, Deck Work to Commence Overnight Beginning Monday, April 5, 2010" (Press release). New York State Thruway Authority. March 30, 2010. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]