Friday, December 16, 2016

Fun facts about the Bear Mountain Bridge (N.Y.)

In November 2014 the Bear Mountain Bridge, located in New York's lower Hudson River Valley, turned 90 years old. The bridge, which connects the eastern side of the Hudson River to the west side, is a familiar landmark to those who live and/or travel through the area. 


The region is a very picturesque one and the bridge resides in a central location that is linked to well-known landmarks such as Bear Mountain Park and West Point Military Academy, to name two. It is also an alternative to the larger Tappan Zee Bridge located to the south (which is currently being rebuilt). Many travelers prefer taking less-congested Bear Mountain Bridge as their route, myself included.

Fun facts about the Bear Mountain Bridge

 

1. Plans for the bridge date back to 1868 (which I find very interesting and never knew despite growing up in the region).
2. The bridge opened to traffic on November 27, 1924.
3. It was a $4.5 million project to build.
4. Construction of the bridge began on March 22, 1923, according to accounts I've read, however, a sign located in Bear Mountain State park points to 1910, I'm unclear as to why the discrepancy. (I wonder if it intended to say the Bear Mountain Park was built in 1910, which sounds as if it would be more accurate).



5. No lives were lost during the building of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
6. The bridge was originally operated by the Bear Mountain Bridge Company. The New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) bought the bridge $2.3 million in 1940.
7. The bridge connects U.S. Highways 202 and 6.
8. Technically it links Westchester and Rockland Counties, but Putnam and Orange Counties are also on or near the connecting points, making it almost a four-county meeting point.


9. Bear Mountain Bridge was considered an "engineering marvel" at the time it was built. It held the title of the longest suspension bridge for 2 years.
10. The Bear Mountain Bridge's main span is 1,632 feet between its towers.
11. There is a toll for those heading east, which has increased over the years but is $1.50 today.
12. The Harriman family (a name well-known in the region) helped fund the building of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
13. You can hike underneath the bridge from an entry found in the Bear Mountain Zoo.

14. The bridge was built on top of Fort Clinton, a Revolutionary War site. A portion of that fort is housed within the Bear Mountain Park borders and is available to visitors to see.

15. There is a former tollhouse (closed as long as I can remember), located on the Westchester County side mountain road that now serves as a historic landmark and is open to visitors.

I hope you've enjoyed reading these fun facts! Thanks for stopping by.

Sources aside from personal knowledge included:

http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/bear-mountain/
http://www.nysba.state.ny.us/bridgepages/BMB/BMBpage/NYSWeb_bmb_page_NoLogo.htm
http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/11/27/bear-mountain-bridge-secret-history/19394987/
http://www.orangetourism.org/fascinating-facts

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