Whirlpool Rapids Bridge

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Coordinates: 43°06′33″N 79°03′30″W / 43.109208°N 79.058336°W / 43.109208; -79.058336

Whirlpool Rapids Bridge
Whirlpool Rapids Bridge 2.jpg
Carries 2 lanes (lower)
1 rail line (upper)
Crosses Niagara River
Locale Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York
Maintained by Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
Design Arch bridge
Total length 329 metres (1,079.40 ft)
Width 16.9 metres (55.45 ft) (lower)
10 metres (32.81 ft) (upper)
Longest span 167.6 metres (549.87 ft)
Vertical clearance 3.96 metres (12.99 ft) (lower)
Clearance below 68.6 metres (225.07 ft)
Opened 1897
Toll $3.25 USD/CAD per auto (westbound only, via prepaid account linked to NEXUS card)[1]
Daily traffic 543 (2006)

The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, commonly called the Whirlpool Bridge, and until 1937, known as the Lower Steel Arch Bridge, is a spandrel braced, riveted, two-hinged arch bridge. It crosses the international border between Canada and the United States, connecting the commercial downtown districts of Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. This bridge is located approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) north of the Rainbow Bridge and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Falls. This bridge was acquired by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in January 1959.

The bridge was designed by Leffert L. Buck and constructed between April 9, 1896, and August 27, 1897. It was constructed around the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge so as not to interrupt daily traffic.

The bridge has two decks. The upper deck carries the railway traffic while the lower deck is a roadway reserved for passenger vehicles only; commercial vehicles and pedestrians are prohibited. The Whirlpool Bridge is reserved for NEXUS members, a joint program implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There is one lane of traffic to the United States and one lane to Canada. The American side connects to New York State Route 104 and New York State Route 182, while the Canadian side connects to the historic terminus of King's Highways 3A, 20 and 8, now known as River Road and Bridge Street.

The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge over the Niagara River (1983).

A single set of train tracks crosses over the bridge. The Via Rail Niagara Falls station is located on the Canadian side of the bridge in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Just upstream is the disused Michigan Central Railway Bridge, which was used to carry rail traffic.

Amtrak took over maintenance responsibility of the rail deck from Canadian National in late 2012. Currently, only the Maple Leaf uses the bridge; the Canadian National Railway no longer routes freight over the bridge. As of November 2009, the bridge is undergoing refurbishment.[2]

The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge was the alleged target of a thwarted terrorist attack, where two Al Qaeda-connected men were going to detonate bombs on a VIA Rail train, destroying the train and the bridge. The plot was thwarted by the RCMP.[3]

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Media related to Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Wikimedia Commons