Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge

Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge

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Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge

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The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge is a railroad-only, vertical lift bridge connecting Elizabethport, New Jersey and the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island. The bridge was built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1959 to replace an older swing span. It is a single track bridge, used mainly to carry garbage out of New York, diverting traffic off of the parallel Goethals Bridge, which is a section of Interstate 278. It has the distinction of being the largest vertical lift bridge in the world, with two towers of 215 feet each, and a truss span of 135 feet in height and 558 feet in length.

Decline of rail traffic

As soon as the new bridge opened, rail traffic over the route began to decline due to major manufacturing facilities on Staten Island closing. Bethlehem Steel closed in 1960, U.S. Gypsum in 1972, U.S. Lines-Howland Hook Marine Terminal in 1986, and Procter and Gamble in 1991. A shift to truck traffic also caused a substantial decline of rail traffic over the bridge, and the North Shore branch of rail service went through a series of owners. The three companies that owned the North Branch were B&O Railroad, CSX and the Delaware Otsego Corporation. They saw the bridge as an excess property. The last freight train went over the Arthur Kill Lift Bridge in 1991, at which time the North Shore branch of...
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