- The highest bridge in New York is the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
- This bridge travels between Canada and the United States, passing over the Niagara River.
- Since this bridge crosses the border between the United States and Canada, it has border inspection facilities on both ends.
New York has some of the longest, highest bridges in the entire Mid-Atlantic. Many of those bridges have at least one end in New York City. Today, we’re going to look at the highest bridge in New York. We’ll outline its total height and location, and then compare it to the tallest bridges in the nation. Here’s a hint: it’s not in New York City.
For the sake of clarity, the measure of the highest bridge in the state is taken from the bottom of the bridge deck to the ground or water below it. This is not a measure of the tallest bridge by structural height.
What is the Highest Bridge in New York?
The highest bridge in New York is the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, a bridge with 370 feet of clearance below it. The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge travels between Canada and the United States, passing over the Niagara River.
The bridge runs roughly east and west, carrying U.S. Interstate 190 and King’s Highway 405 across the bridge. The bridge has a total of 5 lanes. As its name suggests, the structure travels from Lewiston, New York to Queenston, Ontario, Canada.
The structure is an arch bridge, and it has a respectable overall size. The bridge measures 1,594 feet long, with the longest span of 1,000 feet. The overall bridge width is 24 feet.
Overall, this bridge is a large, tall bridge even though it is not the bridge with the tallest structural height in the state.
History of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge that stands today is not the original one in the area. The original structure was a suspension bridge built in 1851. The cost of the structure in those days was about $40,000, and it was a toll road.
The bridge was about 850 feet long, but a powerful wind storm tore the bridge apart in 1864. A ferry service took over for the bridge after its untimely destruction.
In 1898, the Pencoyd Bridge Company moved the former Falls View Suspension Bridge to the Queenston-Lewiston area where it stood until 1962. Construction crews deconstructed the bridge and sold the steel for scrap following the construction of the modern arch bridge.
Members of the New York Council of Parks and the Niagara Frontier State Parks Commissions began talking about a new Queenston-Lewiston Bridge back in 1953. Waddell & Hardesty Engineering Company designed the structure, and it was presented with a total price tag of $16 million dollars. Groundbreaking ceremonies on the bridge took place in 1960, and the project was completed and opened on November 1, 1962.
The construction of this arch bridge was not without incident, though. A fighter jet almost crashed into the bridge area in 1961. The plane erupted into flames shortly after takeoff, and the pilot aimed it away from the city of Niagara Falls before ejecting. The plane crashed not far upriver from the bridge in the gorge, and the pilot was safe.
Since this bridge crosses the border between the United States and Canada, it has border inspection facilities on both ends. This bridge is a very busy border crossing, and people can expect to sit in traffic just over the bridge for some time before entering the country.
Where is the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge on a Map?
The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is in western New York in the United States and the southeastern part of Ontario in Canada. As the bridge’s name suggests, the closest major town or city to the bridge is Lewiston in the United States and Queenston in Canada.
However, the city of Niagara Falls is about four miles south of the bridge. The bridge carries U.S. Interstate 190 and Canada’s King’s Highway 405 across the river as well.
Combined, these elements make the bridge somewhat easy to find on a map. Although it is not the only crossing on the Niagara River, it is the one farthest north located on the river.
The Wildlife Near the Highest Bridge in New York
The highest bridge in New York travels over a river and has wooded areas on either side. As a result, many different animals live in this region. First, consider some of the animals that live on the land near the bridge:
- Blue-spotted salamander
- Canada goose
- Common watersnake
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Herring gull
- Northern leopard frog
- Red fox
- Red-bellied snake
- Striped skunk
- Turkey vulture
This assortment of creatures shows a few of the animals that live near the river and the bridge. Many fish live in the waters below the highest bridge in New York. The following fish are frequently seen and caught in the body of water:
- Brown trout
- Chinook salmon
- Lake trout
- Smallmouth bass
- Yellow perch
Not all of these fish are available throughout the entire year or along the entire stretch of the river. However, that short list should give you a good idea of what fish to expect in the river.
Comparing New York’s Highest Bridge with the Highest in the Country
The highest bridge in New York is 370 feet over the Niagara River, but that’s not the highest bridge in the United States. That would be the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado. This bridge stands 955 feet above the Arkansas River at the bottom of the Royal Gorge.
Meanwhile, the bridge is not very tall as a structure. Still, the measure of a bridge’s height comes from its deck above the land or water below. In this case, it’s almost 1,000 feet!
The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is the highest bridge in New York, and it serves the important purpose of helping people travel between the United States and Canada. While the first bridge did not stand the test of time, the next two lasted for decades before their replacement. Currently, this bridge is in good enough shape to last for a while with modern maintenance techniques. Hopefully, no new bridge is required in this area for some time given the expenses of the most recent construction!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock.com
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