Whirlpool Rapids Bridge

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Coordinates: 43°06′33″N 79°03′30″W / 43.109208°N 79.058336°W / 43.109208; -79.058336

Whirlpool Rapids Bridge
Whirlpool Rapids Bridge 2009.jpg
Carries 2 lanes (lower)
1 rail line (upper)
Crosses Niagara River
Locale Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York
Maintained by Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
Design Arch bridge
Total length 329 metres (1,079.40 ft)
Width 16.9 metres (55.45 ft) (lower)
10 metres (32.81 ft) (upper)
Longest span 167.6 metres (549.87 ft)
Clearance above 3.96 metres (12.99 ft) (lower)
Clearance below 68.6 metres (225.07 ft)
Opened 1897
Daily traffic 543 (2006)
Toll $3.25 USD/CAD per auto (westbound only, via prepaid account linked to NEXUS card or E-ZPass payment)[1]

The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, commonly called the Whirlpool Bridge, and until 1937, known as the Lower Steel Arch Bridge, is a spandrel braced, riveted, two-hinged arch bridge. It crosses the international border between Canada and the United States, connecting the commercial downtown districts of Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. This bridge is located approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) north of the Rainbow Bridge and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Falls. This bridge was acquired by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in January 1959.

The bridge was designed by Leffert L. Buck and constructed between April 9, 1896, and August 27, 1897. It was constructed around the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge so as not to interrupt daily traffic.

The bridge has two decks. The upper deck carries the railway traffic while the lower deck is a roadway reserved for passenger vehicles only; commercial vehicles and pedestrians are prohibited. The Whirlpool Bridge is reserved for NEXUS members, a joint program implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There is one lane of traffic to the United States and one lane to Canada. The American side connects to New York State Route 104 and New York State Route 182, while the Canadian side connects to the historic terminus of King's Highways 3A, 20 and 8, now known as River Road and Bridge Street.

The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge over the Niagara River (1983).

A single train track crosses over the bridge. The Via Rail Niagara Falls Station is located on the Canadian side of the bridge in Niagara Falls, Ontario and the new Amtrak Niagara Falls Station is located on the American side of the bridge in Niagara Falls, New York.

Just upstream is the disused Michigan Central Railway Bridge, which was used to carry rail traffic.

Amtrak took over maintenance responsibility of the rail deck from Canadian National (CN) in late 2012. Currently the Maple Leaf train service, jointly operated by Amtrak and Via Rail, is the only train to use the bridge; CN routes freight over the International Railway Bridge at Fort Erie, OntarioBuffalo, New York instead. In November 2009, the bridge began extensive refurbishment; repairing and replacing the catwalk and some of the steel beams and rivets, sandblasting, and a paint job were among the major maintenance tasks undertaken.[2]

See also


  1. ^ http://www.niagarafallsbridges.com/index.php/2012-06-29-18-19-37/toll-cost-vehicle-definitions Niagara Falls Bridge Commission: Toll Cost & Vehicle Definitions or http://www.niagarafallsbridges.com/index.php/crossing-info/e-zpass
  2. ^ Whirlpool Rapids Bridge gets historic facelift, November 6, 2009.

External links

Media related to Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Wikimedia Commons

  • Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
  • Images from the Historic Niagara Digital Collections
  • Whirlpool Rapids Bridge at Structurae
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