127th Street Viaduct

127th Street Viaduct

127th Street Viaduct, 2004

First things first. What’s a Viaduct? Basically, it’s a series of spans or arches that combine to form a bridge, and that bridge is used to carry a road or railroad over a wide valley or over other roads or railroads. A viaduct is designer to go across dry land, rather than a body of water. Viaducts are particularly helpful when an area has several different streams of traffic that are overlaid, because the viaduct allows traffic to pass on and under the viaduct so that there is less interruption of traffic. Viaducts are common features in regions with lots of freeways — such as NYC driving, accommodating multiple streams of traffic without forcing traffic to stop.

127th Street ViaductThe 127th Street Viaduct covers the span of the Harlem River Drive between the Triborough Bridge / Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Third Avenue Bridge, and the Willis Avenue Bridge. This includes the entrance ramp to the northbound Harlem River Drive from East 127th Street and the Exit Ramp to East 125th Street.

The Viaduct opened in 1957.

Some key facts about the 127th Street Viaduct:

  • Arterial bridge with 5 lanes (2 Northbound, 3 Southbound)
  • 11 spans
  • Total length: 672 ft
  • In 2009, the 127th Street Viaduct carried 79,000 vehicles each day

From Spring 2014 – Spring 2016, NYC DOT will reconstruct the Harlem River Drive between the Willis Avenue and Third Avenue Bridges, in addition to making various highway improvements. This will eliminate a major weaving problem between the southbound Harlem River Drive traffic destined for the Second Avenue exit and the Third Avenue Bridge exit ramp, and allows at-grade access for a future Park/Promenade to be developed by the Department of Parks at 127th Street between the Harlem River Drive and the Harlem River.  This area currently has 40 times the State average number of accidents.

TOLLS: No toll in either direction


From Manhattan Southbound: it’s just an extension of the Harlem River Drive South. You’ll be on part of it when you take the Third Avenue Bridge from the Bronx into Manhattan and are heading on to the FDR Southbound.

From Manhattan Northbound: it’s just an extension of the Harlem River Drive North


with a few select NYC garages.