The AMVETS Memorial Bridge carries the Taconic State Parkway over the New Croton Reservoir in Westchester County, New York.
The development of the Taconic State Parkway was initiated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Chair of the Taconic State Park Commission in 1925. His long-standing vision was to create a picturesque road through the eastern Hudson Valley, facilitating access to both existing and planned state parks. The parkway’s sinuous path was deliberately crafted to incorporate panoramic views of the Hudson Highlands, Catskill Mountains, and Taconic Mountains. Originally conceived as the northerly extension of the Bronx Parkway, it was one of several new parkways intended for the region, including the Briarcliff-Peekskill Parkway and the Saw Mill River Parkway.
The Westchester County segments of the parkway were designed and built by the Westchester County Park Commission between 1923 and 1932 under the name of the Bronx Parkway Extension. It was formally incorporated into the Taconic State Parkway in 1941. 2 The sections situated in Putnam, Dutchess, and Columbia Counties were constructed by the Taconic State Park Commission and the New York State Department of Public Works between 1931 and 1963.
In Westchester County, a decision was made to route the Parkway over the New Croton Reservoir at its narrowest point, and a steel through arch was chosen as the best option to accommodate the topography of the surrounding area. 1 The site presented unique challenges, which influenced the character and erection of the superstructure. A single span of 750 feet was required to provide clearance for the abutments due to the distance of approximately 700 feet between the shorelines at normal water level and an average depth of 90 feet. A three-hinge design was deemed necessary due to the possibility of some settlement on the north abutment.
The presence of the water supply aqueduct and the deep water required the adoption of the cantilever erection of the arch without falsework. 1 The selected plan involved a system of tie-backs and heavy concrete anchorages buried in the earth at some distance from each end of the bridge. Three tie-backs were employed, with the first running from the anchorage directly to point U0, while the other two ran from the anchorage to the top of a 147-foot-tall cable-bent tower, which was supported on the arch abutment. Forestay cables ran from the tower to points U5 and U8. The tower was designed to rock in the plane of the cables to avoid bending stresses.
Each half-arch was erected separately, with closure at the center. 1 Two steel travelers, each equipped with a stiff-leg derrick and steam hoisting engines, were employed for the erection of the steel.
The Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio, devised the method of erection and selected the falsework materials for the New Croton Reservoir Bridge. 1 The company was led by J.K. Lyman and assisted by Russel Vaughan, and their plans were approved by Howard C. Baird, a consulting engineer who designed the bridge. The steelwork was fabricated and erected by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company, while the P. T. Cox Contracting Company constructed the Art Deco-style concrete anchorages.
Upon its completion in 1931, the New Croton Reservoir Bridge, situated along the Taconic State Parkway, held the distinction of being the longest of its kind in the world. 1 2 The American Institute of Steel Construction acknowledged the steel arch bridge as the most visually appealing medium-span, low-clearance bridge constructed that year. 2
The inauguration of the Bronx Parkway Extension, spanning over 30 miles and linking the Bronx River Parkway at the Kensico Dam with the Bear Mountain Bridge, was officially presided over by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt on November 14, at the northern portal of the New Croton Reservoir Bridge. 3 The ceremony was graced by the presence of Arthur W. Lawrence, the President of the Westchester Park Commission, and Robert Moses, the Chairman of the State Council of Parks. The Parkway opened to traffic later that day.
On January 14, 1967, 4 the State Department of Public Works announced plans to reconstruct 3.4 miles of the Taconic State Parkway between Kitchawan Road and Baldwin Road, including six bridges, the largest being a 1,362-foot span for southbound traffic over the New Croton Reservoir. 3 This would allow the Parkway to carry six lanes of traffic. When the initial bids for construction were released on February 16, the job was advertised at about $13 million. No contractors were interested in the project. A second bid for the project on March 23, advertised at $16 million, also attracted no contractors. After much review, a third bid was announced on October 5, this time for $18 million.
The construction of the new bridge’s two main pier foundations required the building of caissons in the reservoir, which had to be drilled to bedrock at a depth of 180 feet below the water surface. 5 At a depth of approximately 80 feet below the water level, drillers came across the remnants of a hamlet, including house foundations and cobblestone roads.
In October 1970, the new bridge for southbound Taconic State Parkway motorists was completed 1,300 feet west of the original. 5 It served both southbound and northbound traffic while the original 1931 span underwent reconstruction until November 1971. 6 The American Institute of Steel Construction recognized the new Croton Reservoir crossing as one of the nation’s seven most beautiful steel bridges to have opened within the year. 5
The bridges were rehabilitated in 1986-87, 10 11 and in 2003, the crossings were renamed the AMVETS Memorial Bridge. 8 The 1931 structure was overhauled in 2013 at the cost of $26 million, which included the reconstruction of the roadway surface and structural painting. 7 9
- State: New York
- Route: Taconic State Parkway
- Type: Steel Arch, Warren Deck Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 960 feet (northbound); 1,362 feet (southbound)
- Main Span Length: 750 feet (northbound); 400 feet (southbound)
- Deck Width: 39.7 feet (northbound); 45 feet (southbound)
- Roadway Width: 40 feet (southbound)
- Above Vertical Clearance: 13 feet (northbound)
- Navigational Clearance:
- Welsch, W. Frederick. “Erecting a 750-Ft. Steel Arch Without Falsework.” Engineering News-Record, 16 Jul. 1931, pp. 94-97.
- “Taconic State Parkway.” Historic American Engineering Record.
- “Croton Lake Bridge: Getting A Sister.” Mount Vernon Argus, 2 Sept. 1967, p. 11.
- “Croton Reservoir Span Is Feature of Taconic Parkway Rebuilding.” Pougkeepsie Journal, 15 Jan. 1967, p. 3C.
- “Taconic Span Makes ‘Beautiful’ Bridge List.” Herald Statesman, 31 Jul. 1971, p. 2.
- “A Record Year for the Taconic State Parkway.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 1 Sept. 1971, p. 24.
- Marchant, Robert. “Taconic bridge on schedule.” Journal News, 16 Aug. 2012, p. 9A.
- “Your Lawmakers.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 7 Dec. 2003, p. 3B.
- “NY: Taconic State Parkway Armvets Memorial Bridge.” America’s Transportation Awards.
- “Traffic Alert.” Mount Vernon Argus, 2 May 1986, p. 14.
- “Road repairs, improvements can cause traffic delays.” Daily Times, 11 Sept. 1987, p. 12.