Today in labor history: New York’s Triborough Bridge opens

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On July 11, 1936, one of the great construction jobs in U.S. history was completed. It was opening day in New York City of the Triborough Bridge.

Construction on the bridge actually started on Black Friday, 1929, as wealthy investors on Wall Street were, in some cases, jumping out of office windows in response to the Stock Market crash.

When the Roosevelt administration signed New Deal legislation into law, however, the Triborough Bridge received large amounts of that New Deal money. The money was used to keep no less than 2,800 construction workers busy for the seven-year construction period. New Deal money transformed the bridge construction project into one of the largest public works projects of the Great Depression.

Republicans in New York and nationally decried the project as "make work" and as a colossal waste of time and money. Today, the bridge is one of the most heavily utilized in the world and has helped spur economic growth all over the northeastern quadrant of the nation.

The Triborough is actually a complex of three bridges, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.

The bridge stands today as an eloquent testimonial to the correctness of those who argue today that infrastructure repair will more than pay for itself and that it will help pull the country out of economic crisis.

Video: Triborough Bridge opens: July 11, 1936

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

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