The Willis Avenue Bridge connects 1st Ave and 125th Street in Manhattan to E 134th Street in the Bronx and carries traffic Northbound out of Manhattan over the Harlem River. It is a sister bridge to the Third Avenue Bridge, which is just 550 northwest and carries traffic from the Bronx to Manhattan.
The bridge opened in August 1901 for a cost of about $278 million. The bridge was made famous in Tom Wolfe’s 80’s best-selling book, Bonfire of the Vanities.
Some key facts about the Willis Avenue Bridge:
- Swing bridge with 4 lanes
- Total length: 3,213 ft
- In 2007, the Willis Avenue Bridge carried more than 65,000 Bronx-bound vehicles daily
The main bridge structure was completely replaced in the fall of 2010 for a cost of $612 million dollars. The Willis Avenue Bridge is heavily traveled since it is an alternative to paying the toll on the Triborough / Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
Find out more about the Willis Avenue Bridge from NYC Roads.
TOLLS: No toll in either direction, though there have been many proposals to charge a toll. Sheldon Silver was the last one to propose a new toll as a bailout for the MTA in 2010.
NYC DRIVING DIRECTIONS FOR THE WILLIS AVENUE BRIDGE
From Manhattan: there are several ways to access the Willis Avenue Bridge — enter going North on 1st, or turn left (North) from E 125th St, or from the FDR Drive northbound.
Exiting Manhattan, the right hand lanes take you to Bruckner Boulevard and the Bruckner Expressway. The left hand lanes put you on the Major Deegan Expressway in the South Bronx.
Walk across the Willis Avenue Bridge!
Two sidewalks run along the sides of each lane for pedestrians.