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Borden Avenue Bridge


Borden Avenue Bridge over Dutch Kills

Borden Avenue Bridge over Dutch Kills by Edward Abraham Byrne. I took this photo early on a cloudy afternoon of early spring looking west from the south side.(Posted to Wikipedia by Jim Henderson. Reposted to Bridgehunter by Roger Deschner.)

Photo taken by Jim Henderson April 10, 2008

License: Public domain: Released by author


View this photo on Wikipedia

BH Photo #252990


Street View 


Is one of two retractile bridges left in New York, and one of four left in the United States. The original Borden Avenue Bridge over Dutch Kills was a wooden bridge built as part of the general construction of Borden Ave. in 1868, connecting East Second Street in Long Island City with D Street in Blissville and to Greenpoint Ave. This original bridge was built during a time when local government had little power and say in New York State. The responsibility of such a project was given to a commission appointed by the legislature.

In 1874, the wooden bridge was replaced by an ’Iron Swing Bridge’ as part of a streets and avenues improvement program.

By the late 1890s, the Department of Bridges had been formed and recommended in 1902 the need for a new bridge, due to higher traffic volumes, which the Department of War approved. During the first half of the 20th century, the department’s responsibility was to oversee the construction of public works over rivers and harbors.

The Iron-Swing Bridge was removed in 1906 and construction began shortly on a new retractile bridge, a bridge with a superstructure designed to move horizontally either longitudinally or diagonally from “closed” to “open” position, the portion acting in cantilever being counterweighted by that supported on rollers. This new bridge opened on March 25th, 1908 at a cost of $157,606. The deck’s original design consisted of creosote-treated wood blocks, with two trolley tracks in the roadway.

The movable bridge opens and closes through horizontal translation of the entire superstructure. Its trapezoidal shaped frame is mounted on nine wheeled trucks which roll on four pairs of crane rails.

Operation of the Borden Avenue Bridge is performed through the Control House. The Control House is a three-story cast-in-place concrete structure originally designed and built along with the bridge.

In closing, the bridge’s general appearance for the most part resembles its 1908 appearance and is only one of four retractile type bridges in the United States, including one of two in New York City.

In 2008 the bridge stopped closing properly because the west abutment and southwest wing wall were rotating, causing a crack in the southwest wing wall that quickly increased in size. By January 2009 the movement of the walls had accelerated so much, the bridge was closed to traffic for safety reasons. A fast-track, emergency reconstruction of the west abutment and wing walls of the bridge was undertaken by STV Inc., that included complete reconstruction of the west approach roadway and sidewalks, as well as deck replacement and repairs to steel members of the movable span. The bridge re-opened to traffic on December 24, 2010.


Retractable bridge over Dutch Kills on Borden Avenue in New York
New York City, Queens County, New York
Open to traffic
Built 1908; rehabilitated 1988; major repairs 2009-2010
Length of largest span: 84.0 ft.
Total length: 168.0 ft.
Deck width: 33.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.73889, -73.94250   (decimal degrees)
40°44'20" N, 73°56'33" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/589288/4510309 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
Inventory numbers
NY 2240410 (New York State bridge identification number)
BH 26191 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2017)
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: 90.3 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • September 19, 2013: New Street View added by Dave King
  • September 19, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected counties
  • April 28, 2013: Updated by Roger Deschner: Add description of 2009-2010 closure and repairs
  • August 31, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: This is also a retractable bridge



Borden Avenue Bridge
Posted September 19, 2013, by Bill Madden (pathsignal [at] gmail [dot] com)

The bridge is wholly within Queens County, New York, it does not connect Kings County.