Thousand Islands Bridge
Thousand Islands International Bridge
A view of the Canadian parts of the bridge system as ON-137 traverses the St Lawrence River across Constance Island and then Georgina Island to reach Ontario mainland. Picture taken looking north from a Hill Island observation tower just north of the Canadian border with the US.
|Carries||2 lanes of I-81 and Highway 137|
|Crosses||Saint Lawrence River|
|Locale||Wellesley Island, New York, United States to Hill Island, Ontario, Canada|
|Official name||The Thousand Islands Bridge system|
|Maintained by||Thousand Islands Bridge Authority|
|Design||suspension, open-spandrel deck arch bridge & truss bridge|
|Total length||Total: 8.5 mi (13.7 km)|
|Longest span||American suspension: 800 ft (240 m)|
Canadian suspension: 750 ft (230 m)
Canadian truss: 600 ft (180 m)
|Clearance below||U.S.: 150 ft (46 m)|
Canada: 120 ft (37 m)
|Construction start||April 30, 1937|
|Toll||Varies $3.00–$17.25 (USD) or $4.00–$23.50 (CAD)|
The Thousand Islands International Bridge (French: Pont des Mille-îles) is an American-maintained international bridge system over the Saint Lawrence River connecting northern New York in the United States with southeastern Ontario in Canada. Constructed in 1937, with additions in 1959, the bridges span the Canada–US border in the middle of the Thousand Islands region. All bridges in the system carry two lanes of traffic, one in each direction, with pedestrian sidewalks.
Thousand Islands International Bridge system is a series of five bridges that span parts of the St. Lawrence River, ultimately connecting both banks. From south to north:
- American mainland to Wellesley Island (main span)
- Wellesley Island to Hill Island (international crossing)
- Hill Island to Constance Island
- Constance Island to Georgina Island
- Georgina Island to Canadian mainland
The southern end of the bridge connects with Interstate 81 and the northern end of the bridge connects to Highway 401 via Highway 137. There is also an interchange with the Thousand Islands Parkway on the Ontario side.
The bridge system is administered by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, a New York State public benefit corporation, whose seven board members are appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. Four board members are US citizens and three are Canadian citizens. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority also maintains and administers Boldt Castle.
Tolls are paid only by cash, by E-ZPass, or with a Commuter Discount Fare Trip Tag, which is good for either 16 trips (US$20.00) or 72 trips (US$32.00). The Bridge Authority has joined the multi-state E-ZPass consortium and introduced electronic toll collection in June 2019. No other ETC transponders are currently offered or accepted, although the Bridge Authority offers sales of transponders of Florida's SunPass, for the convenience of Canadian travelers en route to Florida.
The crossing is the westernmost of the three on the St. Lawrence River and is very busy, with up to two hours of waits during the summer. The US border station of Alexandria Bay has sometimes been called "Thousand Islands", and the Canada border station of Lansdowne has sometimes been called "Gananoque", named for the nearby town where international ferry service has historically (and continues to be) provided. These border stations are also responsible for inspecting vessel traffic between the two countries. The US has seasonal vessel inspection stations on Heart Island and at Cape Vincent, NY, and Canada has seasonal vessel inspection stations at Rockport, Ontario and Gananoque, Ontario, and both Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will travel to selected ports and marinas to conduct inspections upon request.
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From ground-breaking ceremonies to completion, the entire Thousand Islands Bridge system took sixteen months to complete, which was ten weeks ahead of schedule. The total cost was $3,050,000.
The bridge suffered aerodynamic-related structural problems (oscillations) shortly after its opening, these were quickly corrected via structural upgrades.
In the early years of its operation, the bridge usually had 150,000 vehicle crossings annually. Today, however, annual crossings exceed 2,000,000 vehicles.
- List of crossings of the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes
- Boldt Castle (landmark owned by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority)
- Dewolf Point State Park
- Sewells Road Bridge
- Ogdensburg–Prescott International Bridge
- Ambassador Bridge
- Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority
- "Thousand Islands International Bridge Facts". Tibridge.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Toll Rate Classification Schedule, 1 April 2018, retrieved 21 July 2018
- "Our History :". Tibridge.com. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "Authority Info". Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- "E-ZPass comes to Thousand Islands Bridge". WWNY 7News. WWNY-TV. 2019-06-27. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
- "Florida's SunPass electronic toll device soon to be accepted in more states". miamiherald. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- "Chapter 4: The Watery Boundary". United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border. The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Winter 2015.
- "In the Wake of Tacoma", pg. 59-60, ISBN 0-7844-0542-5.
- Thousand Islands Bridge Authority
- Aerial photos of the Thousand Island Bridge System
- Ian Coristine's Thousand Islands Canadian Span & Area Gallery
- Tim Kocher's Riverview Photography of Ships Navigating Under the American Span & Gallery
- CBC Digital Archives: Recording of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address at the opening of the Thousand Islands Bridge