Bridges of Niagara - New York/Ontario Border
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
N 43° 05.347 W 079° 03.942
17T E 657435 N 4772526
Quick Description: For over 150 years, a system of bridges has been built across the Niagara River near the famous falls that cross the American-Canadian border.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 6/14/2007 6:03:21 PM
Waymark Code: WM1P8C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 329

Long Description:
The first international bridge built near Niagara Falls was known as the Upper Suspension or New Suspension Bridge. When it opened in 1869 with a 1,260 foot (384 meter) span, it was the longest suspension bridge ever constructed. The bridge was widened in 1888 to accommodate two-way traffic. On January 9, 1889, a stong southwest gale destroyed the bridge. It was quickly rebuilt and reopened on May 7, 1889.

The desire to have an electric railway crossing the gorge near the falls made it necessary to replace the Upper Suspension Bridge with a steel arch bridge. Construction began in 1897 below the older bridge. When the new bridge opened the following year, it became the world's longest single-span arch at 840 feet (256 meters). It was known as the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, International Railway Company Bridge, Falls View Bridge, and more popularly, the Honeymoon Bridge.

During the winter of 1937-38, a very large and high ice bridge formed in the gorge and extended from the falls to Lake Ontario. On January 27, the ice pushed the bridge off its abutments. The bridge crumpled and fell onto the ice where it lay until the ice bridge broke up in April. Most of the wreckage sank where it had fallen, but some floated downriver on the ice and then sank.

There are currently six bridges that span the Niagara River. From south to north they are:
- The Peace Bridge, connecting Buffalo to Ft. Erie. It opened June 1, 1927 and was designed by Edward Lupfer.
- International Railway Bridge, also from Buffalo to Ft. Erie, opened November 3, 1893.
- Rainbow Bridge (closest to the falls) opened on November 1, 1941. Its abutments were built about 28 feet (8.5 meters) higher than those of the Honeymoon Bridge to avoid problems with ice jams.
- Michigan Central Steel Arch Bridge, designed by William Perry Taylor to replace the existing Cantilever Bridge. It was completed February 21, 1925.
- Whirlpool Bridge (formerly Lower Arch Bridge), a spandrel-braced arch bridge completed August 27, 1897. It was designed by Leffert L. Buck and serves both vehicle traffic below and rail traffic above.
- The Queenston-Lewiston Bridge was built to replace the second suspension bridge. It opened November 1, 1962 and is a near replica of the Rainbow Bridge.

The International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark plaque reads as follows:
Since 1848 many bridges have spanned the Niagara Gorge below Niagara Falls. The design and construction of these bridges was necessary for hte economic development of the Niagara Falls area. The demand for safe and convenient crossings was easily apparent. This need provided a great challenge to civil engineers and to the development of bridge engineering technology. The successful crossing of the gorge required the skill of many engineers willing to take risks and extend their engineering knowledge beyond established limits. Their foresight and intuition contributed to the refinement and advancement of design techniques for suspension and arch bridges.
Niagara Falls, NY; Lewiston, NY; Buffalo, NY; Niagara Falls, Ontario; Queenston, Ontario, Ft. Erie, Ontario

Type of structure/site: Several bridges

Date of Construction: 1848-1962

Engineer/Architect/Builder etc.: Charles Ellet

Engineering Organization Listing: American Society of Civil Engineers

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Web Site: [Web Link]

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