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Park Avenue Bridge
From downriver
Carries 4 tracks of the Metro-North Railroad
Crosses Harlem River
Locale Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City
Maintained by Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Design Vertical lift bridge
Longest span 340 ft (100 m)
Clearance below 25 ft (7.6 m). (closed) and 135 ft (41 m). (open)
Opened 1956

The Park Avenue Bridge is a vertical lift bridge carrying the Metro-North Railroad across the Harlem River between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City.


The first bridge on this site was constructed by the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1841. It was composed of four 90-foot (27 m)-long box truss spans, three of which were fixed iron spans, while the remaining span was a wooden swing span. In the closed position, the bridge had a clearance of only seven feet above mean high water. Masonry piers supported the four box-truss spans.

In 1867, the wooden drawbridge was replaced with an iron one that gave a clearance of fifty feet. It was very busy. By the 1880s, the bridge was crossed by more than 200 trains a day.

The bridge was soon made obsolete by heavy traffic and dredging of the Harlem River Ship Canal. Alfred P. Boller worked with the railroad to create a new four-tracked swing bridge. The railroad and the city split the cost.

The new bridge was built in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers' project to build the Harlem River Ship Canal. The Park Avenue railroad viaduct was also extended north of 115th Street at the same time.[1] While the bridge was being built, a temporary bridge was built and the old span was demolished.

When the new bridge was finished, it had a 300-foot (91 m)-long steel truss span supported by masonry piers. The new span had a vertical clearance of 25 feet (7.6 m).

Between 1954 and 1956, the New York Central Railroad built a third rail bridge on this site. The new bridge has four tracks and consists of two parallel double track spans, 340 feet (100 m) long. It has 25 feet (7.6 m) of clearance when closed and 135 feet (41 m) when open.[2] During the 1960s, the bridge came under the ownership of several different companies, including Penn Central Railroad. Today, Metro-North operates it.


  1. ^ Gray, Christopher (1995-02-19). "The Park Avenue Railroad Viaduct; A $120 Million Renovation for an 1897 Behemoth". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15.  
  2. ^ Guide to Civil Engineering Projects In and Around New York City (2nd ed.). Metropolitan Section, American Society of Civil Engineers. 2009. pp. 52–53.  

External links

Coordinates: 40°48′40.1″N 73°56′0″W / 40.811139°N 73.933333°W / 40.811139; -73.933333



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