7 votes

Carroll Street Bridge


Carroll Street Bridge

West approach

(c) 2008 by Michael Minn


BH Photo #130427

Street View 


Is one of two retractile bridges left in New York, and one of four left in the United States.


Retractable bridge over Gowanus Canal on Carroll Street in New York
New York City, Kings County, New York
Open to traffic
Built 1889
- Cooper-Hewitt/Trenton Iron Co.
Length of largest span: 63.0 ft.
Total length: 107.0 ft.
Deck width: 17.7 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.5 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.67806, -73.98917   (decimal degrees)
40°40'41" N, 73°59'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/585425/4503510 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
NY 2240260 (New York State bridge identification number)
BH 26193 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of October 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 36.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 10, 2022: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 5, 2021: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • July 30, 2020: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • April 12, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • March 9, 2019: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 31, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: This is a retractable bridge.
  • December 15, 2008: New photos from Michael Minn



Carroll Street Bridge
Posted March 23, 2022, by Nick Boppel (nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com)

As mentioned previously the Hood Canal Bridge https://bridgehunter.com/wa/kitsap/hood-canal/ is another example that everyone seems to forget about. It's design is similar to the original Evergreen Point Bridge.

Carroll Street Bridge
Posted March 23, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


Definitely reviving an old post here! Since that time I actually identified two more bridges with retractile spans (both demolished now but extant back then):

Evergreen Point Floating Bridge in Washington State:


and Sarah Mildred Long Bridge had a lift span, but a smaller approach span was also movable and was a retractile.


That said I am not sure these were the ones HAER was referring to. I believe these spans were often overlooked since the Long Bridge was usually listed for its main vertical lift span while the Evergreen Point Bridge was usually described as a pontoon/floating bridge with no reference to the movable span's design.

Carroll Street is by far the most significant example in the USA however. Also I later discovered a cute little example in Quebec that, like Carroll Street, is still operable:


Carroll Street Bridge
Posted March 23, 2022, by Tom Hynes (wawatam [at] gmail [dot] com)

I realize that I'm responding to a question posted 11 years ago. But just in case anyone is wondering, the count of 4 retractile bridges left in the United States comes from the circa 1990 Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) write up on the Summer Street bridge in Boston. They rightfully consider it two bridges since the eastbound and westbound roadways are on separate structures (and were skewed in opposite directions). So two structures at Summer Street in Boston and Carrol Street and Borden Ave in New York City makes 4 remaining retractile bridges in the US.

Carroll Street Bridge
Posted August 31, 2011, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

The hood canal bridge in Washington is a retractable (and floating) bridge, so that would be the fourth example.

Carroll Street Bridge
Posted August 31, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I only know of three genuine retractile bridges in the United States. This bridge, the Borden Avenue Bridge also in New York City, and Boston's Summer Street Bridge. A lot of sources claim there are four examples, but I don't know where the fourth example is. One source I found made me suggest that somebody has mistaken Chicago's Rall bascule bridge as a retractile bridge. If anybody knows of a genuine fourth retractile bridge in the United States I would be curious to know where it is.

Carroll Street Bridge
Posted August 31, 2011, by Andis (Cernoks)

Actually, this is a retractile bridge, a dying breed.