Um, How Old Are Our Bridges?


Photo: Getty Images

The Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis, which collapsed into the Mississippi River at about 6 p.m. last night, turned 40 years old this year, as all the coverage reminds us. How old are New York’s bridges? The Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest, of course; it opened on May 24, 1883, making it 124 years old. The 59th Street and Manhattan bridges come next, both opening in 1909. The 59th Street is 98 years old, and the Manhattan, which opened on the last day of the year, is still a sprightly 97. The George Washington opened in October 1931; it’s 75 years old for a few more months. (But the lower span, sometimes called Martha — ‘cause it’s under George! Ha! — merely turns 45 this month.)

In July 1936, Robert Moses opened the Triborough; it’s 71 years old. The Tappan Zee opened in December 1955, which means it’s set to turn 52 this year. And the youngest, the Verrazano-Narrows opened on November 21, 1964, making it 42 years old. Of course, the Tappan Zee was reportedly designed to have only a 50-year life span. (Something to do with the Korean War and scarcity of materials and so on.) Now that it’s on borrowed time, state officials are currently considering options for rebuilding or replacing it. One presumes they’ll figure something out before the thing falls into the Hudson.

UPDATE: The Williamsburg Bridge! We forgot the Williamsburg bridge! It opened in December 1903, making it 106 years old, at least for the next few months, and the second-oldest on this list.

Related: Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis Kills at Least 7 [NYT]

Um, How Old Are Our Bridges?