Whirlpool Rapids Bridge
|Whirlpool Rapids Bridge|
|Carries||2 lanes (lower)
1 rail line (upper)
|Locale||Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York|
|Maintained by||Niagara Falls Bridge Commission|
|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)|
|Toll||$2.75 USD/CAD per auto (westbound only, via prepaid account linked to NEXUS card)|
|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.
Just to the south 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[update], the bridge is undergoing refurbishment.
The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge was the alleged target of a thwarted terrorist attack, where two Al Quaeda-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.
Media related to Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Wikimedia Commons
- Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
- Images from the Historic Niagara Digital Collections
- Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Structurae