New York is a state that has many impressive (and iconic) bridges connecting its islands and boroughs across various waterways. From historic landmarks to modern marvels, these bridges are feats of engineering and beauty. Let’s discover the longest bridge in New York, plus learn a little about its history.
The Longest Bridge in New York
The longest bridge in New York is the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, formerly known as the Tappan Zee Bridge. The bridge spans the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack and is part of the New York State Thruway system.
The bridge has what’s known as a twin cable-stayed design, with two parallel spans (road sections) that each carry four lanes of traffic, plus a shared bicycle-pedestrian path. The bridge is 16,368 feet long and 419 feet high, making it the longest and tallest bridge in the state.
The bridge was built to replace the original Tappan Zee Bridge, which opened in 1955 and was falling apart due to age and heavy traffic. The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 and was completed in 2018 for a whopping $3.9 billion. The bridge was named after Mario Cuomo, the 52nd governor of New York, and the father of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor.
The bridge’s official website provides more information about its history, design, features, and events. You can also view a live webcam of the bridge and a falcon cam that shows the nesting peregrine falcons on the bridge’s towers.
Lighting the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
The bridge’s lighting system consists of over 2,500 LED lights that can produce 16 million color combinations. The lights are installed on the towers, cables, and piers of the bridge and can be programmed to create light shows for special occasions and holidays, all done remotely. The lights are also designed to minimize light pollution and avoid disturbing wildlife.
The lighting system was part of Governor Cuomo’s vision to create a “Harbor of Lights” that would synchronize the illumination of all state-run bridges in New York City. However, the project faced criticism and delays due to its high cost and low priority compared to other infrastructure needs. The project was paused in 2017 and has not resumed since then.
Animals Around the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is home to a variety of animals, both on and above the water. One of the most notable residents is a pair of endangered peregrine falcons that nest on the bridge’s towers. The bridge’s official website features a live falcon cam that allows viewers to watch the falcons and their chicks throughout the year.
The bridge also offers a unique opportunity for visitors to observe the wildlife of the Hudson River from a shared bicycle-pedestrian path that runs along the northern side of the westbound span. The path is 12 feet wide and 3.6 miles long, with six scenic overlooks that provide views of the river and its surroundings. The path also has interpretive displays and public art that showcase the region’s history, culture, and ecology.
Some of the animals seen from the bridge include bald eagles, ospreys, herons, egrets, cormorants, ducks, geese, swans, gulls, terns, loons, grebes, and mergansers. As the list shows, it’s mostly birds since they are the most easily visible from the bridge. The river also hosts the typical fish species expected in the region, including striped bass, shad, herring, sturgeon, eel, perch, and catfish.
The 5 Longest Bridges in New York:
1. Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
The longest bridge in New York, spanning 16,368 feet over the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack. It is a twin cable-stayed bridge that opened in 2018, replacing the original Tappan Zee Bridge. It is named after the 52nd governor of New York and features a shared bicycle-pedestrian path and a lighting system.
2. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge
The longest suspension bridge in the US, spanning 13,700 feet over the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island. It is a double-decker bridge with six lanes per deck that opened in 1964. It is named after Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first explorer to sail into New York Harbor in 1524.
3. Bronx–Whitestone Bridge
A suspension bridge that spans 7,140 feet over the East River between the Bronx and Queens. It opened in 1939 and has six lanes of traffic. It is part of Interstate 678 and connects to the Whitestone Expressway.
4. Throgs Neck Bridge
A suspension bridge that spans 7,040 feet over the East River between the Bronx and Queens. It opened in 1961 and has six lanes of traffic. It is part of Interstate 295 and connects to the Cross Island Parkway.
5. George Washington Bridge
A suspension bridge that spans 4,760 feet over the Hudson River between Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey. It is the busiest bridge in the world in terms of vehicular traffic. It opened in 1931 and has two levels with eight lanes each. It is part of Interstate 95 and connects to the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
Where is The Tappan Zee Bridge Located on a Bridge?
The Tappan Zee Bridge, known as the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in honor of the former New York governor, is a pair of cable-stayed bridges that stretch across the Tappan Zee segment of the Hudson River, connecting Tarrytown and Nyack in the state of New York.
Here is The Tappan Zee Bridge on a map:
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