The Longest Suspension Bridge in the World Was Once This Hudson Valley Bridge
The bridges that we drive over on our way to work, while traveling or simply to run errands have historic backgrounds.
If you're from the Hudson Valley, your ancestors may have even played a role in the production, building and running of the many bridges in our area.
Some Of The Hudson Valley Bridges Date Back To The 1920's Or Earlier
Thankfully, The New York State Bridge Authority and Historic Hudson Valley Bridges share historical pictures and information in regards to these bridges.
Bridges are fascinating and also important for many reasons.
They provide us with the access to safely travel to our destination. Bridges are able to hold and also carry the load of traffic that crosses. They also allow us to travel to different communities, counties and even states.
The Historic Hudson Valley Bridges Have Stories To Tell
According to the New York State Bridge Authority,
"As the oldest of NYSBA's bridges, Bear Mountain Bridge was the first vehicular river crossing between New York City and Albany. At the time it was built, it was also the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first suspended bridge to have a concrete deck."
This Hudson Valley Bridge Was Once Known As "The Longest Suspension Bridge In The World"
When was the last time that you drove over the Bear Mountain Bridge?
According to NYC Roads,
"The Bear Mountain Bridge, the southernmost crossing administered by the New York State Bridge Authority, carries US 6 and US 202 across the Hudson River, from Bear Mountain State Park at the northern tip of Rockland County to the northwestern corner of Westchester County.
On the western approach, which actually lies in Orange County (the Orange-Rockland border runs diagonally between the toll plaza and the superstructure), the bridge connects to US 9W and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. On the eastern approach, the bridge connects to NY 9D."
It's fascinating that at that time, it was known for being one of the longest bridges in the entire world.
How Old Is The Bear Mountain Bridge?
In 2022, The Bear Mountain Bridge is now 98. However, plans for building this bridge came about in the 1860's but the plans fell through. In the Twentieth Century, the increase in ferries was happening in the Hudson Valley and New York City.
It wasn't until a state park opened that this idea came about.
According to NYC Roads,
"When nearby Bear Mountain State Park opened in 1916, it quickly became a popular destination for New Yorkers. Before long, getting to and from the park meant long delays at the ferry terminal, or during nighttime or winter periods, not getting across at all. Even when they were available, ferries crossing the river between Peekskill and Bear Mountain State Park had waits of as much as four hours."
In The 1920's, Good News Arrived For New Yorkers Who Traveled
It wasn't until the 1920's that a bill was introduced.
It would then be,
" authorized the creation of a privately financed entity, the Bear Mountain Hudson Bridge Company, to build a vehicular bridge across the Hudson at Bear Mountain. Under the terms of this bill, the company was given 30 years to build and maintain the bridge and highway approaches on state-owned land, after which time the state would take over the bridge.
In March of 1923, construction began for The Bear Mountain Bridge. Not too long after, in 1924, the Bear Mountain Bridge project was completed. It was then open to traffic in the same year. At the time, "the $4.5 million project was completed without a single loss of life."
Hudson Valley Residents Are Still Shocked When They Learn The Fascinating History Of This Bridge
"When it opened, the Bear Mountain Bridge had the longest main suspension span in the world, surpassing that of the Williamsburg Bridge by 32 feet. It held its title for only two years, giving it up to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge across the Delaware River in Philadelphia in 1926."
What Is The Bear Mountain Bridge Like In 2022?
According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT),
" the Bear Mountain Bridge carries approximately 20,000 vehicles per day (AADT) over the Hudson River."
Have you ever been over this bridge before?
Which Hudson Valley bridge do you like the best? Share with us below.