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History of The Bear Mountain Bridge in Highlands, NY

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The personal injury attorneys in Highlands, NY at Banville Law present this article on the Bear Mountain Bridge.

The Bear Mountain Bridge

Highlands, New York has a population of 12,492 and a median household income of $52,816 as of 2010.

History

The Town of Highlands is home to the oldest bridge in the New York State Bridge Association, Bear Mountain Bridge. Known as the longest suspension bridge in the world when built until the Benjamin Franklin Bridge exceeded its length, less than two years later. It was the first crossing to allow vehicles to get from Albany to New York City and the first with a concrete deck. Located alongside the western bank of the Hudson River, it resides in Orange County, New York.

Despite planning for the bridge beginning as early 1868, construction on the bridge would have many setbacks, including the following memorable recessions:

It would not be until the formation of the Bear Mountain Hudson River Bridge Company in 1922 that construction on the bridge would be complete. The private company was financially backed by one of New York's wealthiest families, the Harrimans. Mary H. Harriman's son, Governor W. Averell Harriman, was the motivation behind completion.

Completion

Bear Mountain Bridge opened to the public in 1924, less than the three-year deadline included in the contract. The New York State Bridge Association acquired it in 1940 for $2,275,000. Still, the Bear Mountain Hudson River Bridge Company would continue to manage it for another 35 years before handing it over to the Bridge Authority.

Since 1942, traffic on the bridge has rapidly grown from 483,000 vehicle crossings around 1945 to more than 6 million in 2007. Initially, the toll for one round trip was $.80 per passenger car but was lowered to $.50 by the Bridge Authority in 1942. Tolls have also increased and now range from $1.35 to $1.75 per round trip across.

In recognition of the nation's wounded or killed Armed Forces veterans, the bridge was designated the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bear Mountain Bridge in 2018. The bridge location is near the following military-related sites:

Engineering

The methods used to construct the 1,632 foot long Bear Mountain Bridge paved the way for other suspension bridges, including George Washington and the Golden Gate Bridges. It also inspired the extension of the Bronx River Parkway. Engineers learned from the mistakes and defects in other bridges to create a structure to last through time. Some of these features include:

Many new materials were experimented with in the design lowering the cost of maintenance. Engineers continue to seek methods that prevent rapid erosion from too much moisture. In 1990 they experimented with a paste with a non-toxic polymer base on the cables and found they were successful. The addition of the new cables in 2006 allows the Bridge Authority to monitor any changes in their condition.

To learn more on surrounding regions, visit our next blog on: Historical Background of Hartsdale, New York

Our Local Office

If you or a loved one suffer have been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to our Highlands, NY personal injury attorneys at Banville Law for a free consultation.

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: March 23, 2021
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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