The Lincoln Highway Passaic River Bridge carries Truck US Routes 1 and 9 over the Passaic River between Newark and Kearny, New Jersey.
In 1765, the Assembly of the Province of New Jersey authorized the construction of a plank road between Newark and Paulus Hook along the Hudson River. 1 It incorporated two existing roadways: Ferry Street in Newark on the west bank of the Passaic River, and another across the southern tip of New Barbadoes Neck to a Brown’s Ferry 3 4 5 at the Hackensack River. The road then traveled east over Bergen Hill and connected with the Bergen Point Plank Road at Communipaw Junction.
In 1849, a charter was granted by the New Jersey General Assembly to upgrade and operate the toll road, which became known as the Newark Plank Road. 4 Soon after, the Newark Plank Road & Ferry Company requested and received permission to build bridges over the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, and a draw bridge was built across the Passaic after 1856. It was later replaced with a swing span.
The plank road was significantly improved during the Good Roads Movement, 10 and was incorporated as part of the Lincoln Highway, 11 the first transcontinental highway in the United States. 12 The new and improved roadway was completed at the cost of $1.25 million and dedicated on December 13, 1913. 13 Despite its improvements, the roadway became one of the busiest in the nation and the bridge over the Passaic had become overburdened by the close of the decade. Additionally, the bridge opened as much as 30 times per day, 19 delaying river traffic and automobiles alike. 2
Swing span crossings were typically built where wide navigational channels needed to be crossed, but they had significant drawbacks as they were slow to open and close, and pilots with wide barges had difficulty navigating between the mid-channel pivot and river piers. 2 Additionally, swing bridges were often built just a few feet above mean high water which required that the crossing be opened for all but the smallest of vessels.
Approval for a new lift bridge was given by the War Department in 1937 15 and construction began in 1939. 16 Designed by Ash, Howard, Needles & Tamman in conjunction with Morris Goodkind of the New Jersey Highway Department, 17 the new crossing was completed at the cost of $2.5 million and opened to traffic on January 14, 1941. 18 19 It was given an award for being the most beautiful steel bridge built during the past year by the American Institute of Steel Construction. 17 19
The approach spans were rehabilitated in the 1990s and again in 2003. 17
- State: New Jersey
- Route: Truck US Routes 1 and 9
- Type: Vertical Lift
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 2,005 feet
- Main Span Length: 322.5 feet
- Deck Width: 51 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 15.9 feet
- Urquhart, Frank J. A History of the City of Newark, New Jersey: Embracing Practically Two and a Half Centuries, 1666-1913. Lewis Historical Publishing, 1913.
- Modica, Glenn R. “The Hackensack River Vertical Lift Bridges Historic District.” New Jersey Department of Transportation.
- Rae-Turner, Jean and Richard T. Koles. Newark. Arcadia Publishing, 2001, p. 59.
- Robinson, Walter F. “Old Bergen Township (Now Hudson County) in the American Revolution.” Bayonne Bicentennial Committee, 1976.
- Shalhoub, Patrick B. Jersey City. Arcadia Publishing, 1995.
- Charles E. Milnor vs. The Newark Plank Road and Ferry Co. & Als, 1856.
- Report of the Assembly Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Condition of the Bridges over the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers in the Counties of Union, Essex, Hudson. Trenton: New Jersey Assembly, 1865.
- “North Jersey Street Railway.” NJT/Public Service Line.
- “History.” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 2020.
- KSK Architects Historians Planners, editor. “Highway Era.” New Jersey Historic Roadway Survey, New Jersey Department of Transportation, 2011, p. 99.
- “A Famous Highway Old Plank Road in New Jersey Established in 1765.” New York Times, 26 Jul. 1914.
- Sheweber, Nate. “A Design From an Earlier, Steel-Heavy Era.” New York Times, 27 Dec. 2005.
- “How the ‘Lincoln Way’ Project Now Stands.” New York Times, 5 Apr. 1914.
- “Jersey Bridge Approved; Proposed Span to Link Newark and Kearny Will Speed Traffic.” New York Times, 2 Dec. 1937.
- “New Bridge is Ready; Passaic River Closed to Traffic Till Span Is Placed.” New York Times, 7 Sept. 1940. “To Close Road, Open New Span.” New York Times, 23 Jan. 1941.
- “Route 1&9 Truck Passaic River Lift Bridge.” Historic Bridges. Historic Documentation company, Inc.
- “To Close Road, Open New Span.” New York Times, 23 Jan. 1941.
- Marchese, Shayna and Doug Ensel. “Passaic River Bridge (1&9).” bridgesnyc, 28 Dec. 2009.