The City Island Bridge is the sole vehicular, pedestrian, and bicyclist access to City Island in The Bronx.
With a daily traffic count of 16,500 vehicles, the original 1901 bridge had historic signiﬁcance, and restoration was originally considered as an option. However, due to the need for continuous repairs and deteriorating conditions, it became clear to the New York City DOT that the best approach was to build a new bridge.
The ﬁrst major stage of the project involved the construction of an off-line temporary bridge to facilitate demolition of the original seven-span structure and construction of the new City Island Bridge, while maintaining the same level of utility service and access to the island. A value engineering proposal submitted by the contractor involved changing the temporary bridge structure in the project plans to a modular steel structure. This change resulted in a substantial cost beneﬁt.
The original contract documents included a cable-stayed single-tower cantilever structure to replace the existing bridge. City Island community groups and local representatives voiced opposition to the structure as out of context with the rustic seafaring community, which could potentially be an invitation to even more traffic through the local community. The residents successfully lobbied for a more restrained bridge design. The contractor introduced a second value engineering proposal for a change from a cable-stayed bridge to a low-profile, three-span, long-span, steel girder bridge with two in-water piers. This new design resolved community concerns and also saved the client money.
The project includes numerous upgrades to benefit the community. The new bridge includes wider pedestrian walkways and adds a dedicated, protected bicycle lane. In addition, the new design provides increased vertical clearance for recreational vessels. The new bridge has a 100-year life span and relatively low life-cycle operational and maintenance costs compared to the original design or existing swing bridge structure. Elements of the original 1901 bridge were preserved or repurposed.