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Wards Island Bridge


Wards Island Bridge

Photo taken by Adam Elmquist

View this photo at panoramio.com

BH Photo #257909

Street View 


The Wards Island Bridge opened to pedestrians on May 18, 1951 and was completed at a cost of $2.1 million. The bridge was later opened to bicycles in 1967. Although the bridge was originally painted in a red, yellow, and blue color scheme, it was repainted in sapphire blue and emerald green in 1986.

Restricting access to the bridge during the overnight hours and winter months traces back to concerns from residents of the East River Houses in the 1980s and 1990s over patients from the Manhattan State Psychiatric Center who frequently crossed the bridge into Manhattan. Tenants believed that the patients were responsible for increased levels of crime in their neighborhood.

In 1999, the New York City Department of Transportation proposed that the bridge be converted to a fixed bridge status. However, this proposal was delayed due to the clearance necessary to float construction equipment up the Harlem River for reconstruction projects associated with the Third Avenue, Willis Avenue, and 145th Street Bridges.

The Wards Island Bridge underwent reconstruction between April 2010 and April 2012, which included replacement of the walkway deck, steel superstructure, and electrical and mechanical control systems.


Vertical lift pony/through plate girder bridge over Harlem River on Pedestrian Crossing
New York City, New York County, New York
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1950; Reconstructed 2010-12
- Othmar Ammann of Feuerthalen, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of Washington, D.C.
Pony plate girder
Vertical lift
Also called
103rd Street Footbridge
Harlem River Pedestrian Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.78613, -73.93710   (decimal degrees)
40°47'10" N, 73°56'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/589680/4515558 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Central Park
Inventory number
BH 56910 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 5, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • February 7, 2017: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • October 19, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added builders
  • February 13, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • May 29, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 1, 2013: Added by Dave King


  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Douglas Butler
  • Luke
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com


Wards Island Bridge
Posted October 7, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

This was the site of the Yellow Brick Road scenes in the movie "The Wiz" (1978).