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August 24, 2010

Mid-Hudson Bridge Turns 80
Span named for Franklin D. Roosevelt an iconic Hudson Valley Structure

Highland, NY – Eighty years ago this Wednesday, New York’s first lady - Eleanor Roosevelt - cut the ribbon opening the Mid-Hudson Bridge.  Today, that same bridge proudly bears the name of her husband who went on to become the 32nd President of the United States.

“When it was built, the Mid-Hudson Bridge was only the second span over the Hudson”, Bridge Authority Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said.  “By connecting the two banks of the Hudson River, the bridge brought communities and people together and established the mid-Hudson region as a place of opportunity in New York State.”

When it first opened the bridge won recognition as the most beautiful suspension bridge in this part of the country.  In 1983, the Mid-Hudson Bridge was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a New York State Civil Engineering Landmark.

“We are particularly proud that our bridges have been called ‘among the best maintained bridges in the nation’,” Authority Chairman James P. Sproat added, “a fact that the passengers in almost 14 million vehicles that cross the bridge in 2009 can take comfort in.”

With an overall length of about 3,000 feet, the Mid-Hudson is a parallel wire cable suspension bridge with suspended side panels.  The bridge cost a little less than six million dollars to build during the late 1920’s and would cost more than $220 million to replace today.

The Bridge was originally build by the NYS Department of Public Works and turned over to the Bridge Authority in 1933.


Tolls on the bridge were quite high in 1933.  While a loaf of bread cost about 5 cents in 1933, a car cost 80 cents each way and there was an extra charge of 10 cents per passenger.  It costs 10 cents to walk across the bridge and a horse and rider were charged 30 cents.  The toll for oxen and cows was 20 cents each and even lambs and hogs would incur a 10 cent toll.

Today, a loaf of bread costs more than $2 while the typical $1 toll, charged in one direction only, makes the Bridge Authority toll among the lowest in the country for a self-supporting toll bridge operators.

The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges. 

The Authority is funded from bridge tolls and receives no state or federal tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.  The Authority also holds the highest bond rating given to any public toll-transportation entity in the United States, reducing annual costs.