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The Willis Avenue Bridge is a swing bridge that carries northbound road traffic (and two-way bicycles and pedestrians) over the Harlem Rivermarker between the New York Citymarker boroughs of Manhattanmarker and the Bronxmarker, United Statesmarker. It connects First Avenue in Manhattan with Willis Avenue in the Bronx. The New York City Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining and operating the bridge.

The bridge was first opened in 1901, at an original construction cost of $1,640,523.11 and a land cost of $803,988.37. Major reinforcing work was done in 1916. It once carried both directions of New York State Route 1A and later northbound NY 1A only.

In November 2005, New York Citymarker sought to replace the bridge. In an effort to preserve the structure, the city offered it for sale for $1, with free delivery within 15 miles. Due to the difficult logistics of moving the structure, there were no bids as of March 2007. The Department of Transportation opted to construct a new structure to the south of the existing bridge at a projected cost of $417 million. On March 8, 2007, when bidding for construction was opened, of the two bids offered, the lowest came in at $612 million. Iris Weinshall, the department commissioner, said that the city must go forward with the project because maintenance of the existing bridge is expensive and the design of the ramps contribute to frequent accidents. This will be the most costly bridge construction project by the New York City Department of Transportation. Weinshall expects the project to last five years with construction beginning around the end of 2007.

Just upstream, the Third Avenue Bridgemarker, carries southbound traffic across the Harlem River from the Bronx to Manhattan. That bridge was replaced in 2004.

Willis Avenue Bridge was sung by David Berkeley in a song of the same name from his 2009 album Strange Light.


  1. "WANNA BUY A BRIDGE?" by Alec Wilkinson, The New Yorker, January 16, 2006, retrieved June 21, 2006

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