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Roosevelt Island Bridge facts for kids

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Roosevelt Island Bridge
Roosevelt Island Bridge from the south (41860).jpg
Roosevelt Island Bridge as viewed from the south on Roosevelt Island
Coordinates 40°45′50″N 73°56′46″W / 40.76389°N 73.94611°W / 40.76389; -73.94611
Carries 2 lanes of 36th Ave and a sidewalk on the north side
Crosses East River (East Channel)
Locale Roosevelt Island and Queens, New York
Maintained by New York City Department of Transportation
Design Lift bridge
Total length 2,877 ft (877 m)
Width 40 ft (12 m)
Longest span 418 ft (127 m)
Clearance below 100 ft (30 m) when open
Opened May 18, 1955
Daily traffic 8,313 (2016)

The Roosevelt Island Bridge is a bridge in New York. It is a lift bridge. It connects Roosevelt Island in Manhattan to Astoria in Queens. It crosses the East Channel of the East River. The bridge is the only route to the island for vehicles and foot traffic, except for public transportation.


Construction of the bridge began on March 17, 1952. The cost was $6.5 million. It opened on May 18, 1955, as the Welfare Island Bridge. The name was changed to the Roosevelt Island Bridge in 1973.

Before the bridge was built, the only way vehicles could access Roosevelt Island was by using an elevator on the Queensboro Bridge. The elevator was torn down in 1970.

In 2001, the New York City Department of Transportation considered converting the Roosevelt Island Bridge into a fixed bridge. This was to reduce the cost of its maintenance. The bridge is rarely opened (raised for ships to go underneath), because most ships passing by Roosevelt Island use the West Channel of the East River. Most of the bridge openings occur in September during the General Assembly at the United Nations. During this time the West Channel is closed for security reasons.


When the bridge is raised for ships to go underneath, the distance between the water and the bridge is 100 feet (30 m). The bridge is 40 feet (12 m) wide. Its total length, including approaches, is 2,877 feet (877 m). The main span (distance across) is 418 feet (127 m) long.

The Roosevelt Island Bridge provides direct access to the 'Motorgate Parking Garage', which was designed to minimize vehicle traffic on the island. The garage was completed in 1974 and later expanded in 1990.

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