Thanks to Karen for the title!
This morning the brand new Willis Avenue Bridge began its trip from the Port of Coeymans, where it was built, down the Hudson. The 350-foot, 2700-ton bridge took 15 months to build and will replace the current Willis Avenue Bridge over the Harlem River, which has been in use since August 22, 1901. Details about the current bridge and the replacement project are on New York City’s Department of Transportation site.
Karen and I passed under the old bridge for the first time back in July 2008.
The new span was loaded onto barges this morning and will head for Bayonne, New Jersey, before finally being towed to the Harlem River. It looks like the tugboat Cornell has the honor of towing the barges. (See pictures on Cornell‘s Facebook page.)
If you’re planning to travel on the Hudson this week, you should be aware of these scheduled river closings and restrictions to travel. The East and Harlem rivers will also be subject to closings as the bridge makes its way up the Buttermilk Channel to its final destination.
If you want to see the bridge as it comes to New York, it should be near the George Washington Bridge around 3:00 a.m. on July 14 and at the Holland Tunnel ventilator tower around 4:15 a.m.
The bridge should then transit the Buttermilk around 11:00 a.m. and head up the East River. (UPDATE: The “East and Harlem rivers” link above indicates the barge will be moved up the East River on the 14th, but it will not be moved until just before installation in August.) The new bridge will be installed on August 2, and the old bridge will be removed on September 20.
In 2005, New York City put the current bridge up for sale for $1 with free delivery within 15 miles, on the condition that the buyer keep it as a bridge and not scrap it. No one bought it, and the bridge will be demolished, with a piece kept as a monument in Harlem River Park.