Thousand Islands Bridge

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Thousand Islands International Bridge
Thousand Islands Bridge July 2015 001.jpg
A view of the Canadian parts of the bridge system as ON-137 traverses the St Lawrence River across Constance Island and then Georgina Island to reach Ontario mainland. Picture taken looking north from 1000 Islands Tower.
Coordinates 44°20′50.71″N75°59′0.6″W / 44.3474194°N 75.983500°W / 44.3474194; -75.983500 (Thousand Islands Bridge)
Carries2 lanes of I-81.svg I-81 and Ontario 137 crown.svg Highway 137
Crosses Saint Lawrence River
Locale Wellesley Island, New York, United States to Hill Island, Ontario, Canada
Official nameThe Thousand Islands Bridge system
Maintained by Thousand Islands Bridge Authority
Design suspension, open-spandrel deck arch bridge & truss bridge [1]
Total lengthTotal: 8.5 mi (13.7 km)
Longest spanAmerican suspension: 800 ft (240 m)
Canadian suspension: 750 ft (230 m)
Canadian truss: 600 ft (180 m)
Clearance below U.S.: 150 ft (46 m)
Canada: 120 ft (37 m)
Construction startApril 30, 1937;86 years ago (April 30, 1937)
OpenedAugust 18. 1938;85 years ago (August 18. 1938)
TollVaries $3.75–$23.50 (USD) or $4.75–$31.00 (CAD) [2]
Thousand Islands Bridge

The Thousand Islands International Bridge (French : Pont des Mille-îles) is an American-maintained international bridge system over the Saint Lawrence River connecting northern New York in the United States with southeastern Ontario in Canada. Constructed in 1937, with additions in 1959, the bridges span the Canada–US border in the middle of the Thousand Islands region. All bridges in the system carry two lanes of traffic, one in each direction, with pedestrian sidewalks.



The Thousand Islands International Bridge system is a series of five bridges [3] spanning the St. Lawrence River. From south to north, they are:

  1. American mainland to Wellesley Island (main span [1] )
  2. Wellesley Island to Hill Island (international crossing)
  3. Hill Island to Constance Island
  4. Constance Island to Georgina Island
  5. Georgina Island to Canadian mainland

The bridges's southern end connects with Interstate 81, and the northern end with Highway 401 via Highway 137. There is also an interchange with the Thousand Islands Parkway on the Ontario side.

The actual international border bridge crossing is a set of two parallel 90 ft (27 m) bridges between Wellesley Island in the United States and Hill Island in Canada.


The bridge system is administered by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, a New York State public benefit corporation, whose seven board members (Four Americans and three Canadians) are appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. [4] The Authority also maintains and administers Boldt Castle.

Tolls are paid only by cash, E-ZPass, or Commuter Discount Fare Trip Tags, which are prepaid for either 16 trips (US$20.00) or 72 trips (US$32.00). The Bridge Authority is a member of the multi-state E-ZPass consortium, and introduced electronic toll collection in June 2019. [5] [6] No other ETC transponders are currently offered or accepted, although the Bridge Authority offers sales of transponders of Florida's SunPass for the convenience of Canadian travelers en route to Florida. [7]

Border crossing

The Thousand Islands Border Crossing connects the towns of Alexandria Bay, New York and Ivy Lea, Ontario at the Thousand Islands Bridge.

It is the westernmost of the three St. Lawrence River crossings, and is very busy, with up to two-hour waits in the summer. [8] The US border station at Alexandria Bay is sometimes called Thousand Islands. The Canada border station of Lansdowne is sometimes called Gananoque, for the nearby town where international ferry service is provided. These border stations are also responsible for inspecting vessel traffic between the countries. The US has seasonal vessel inspection stations on Heart Island and at Cape Vincent, NY, and Canada has seasonal vessel inspection stations at Rockport, Ontario and Gananoque, Ontario. Both Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) travel to selected ports and marinas on request for inspections.


The entire Thousand Islands Bridge system took sixteen months to build, beginning with a ground-breaking on April 30, 1937. [9] Completed ten weeks ahead of schedule, the bridges opened on August 18, 1938, with the ribbon cut by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. [10] Its total cost was $3.05 million (equivalent to $49.03 million in 2022 dollars).

Shortly after opening, the bridge displayed aerodynamic oscillation problems that were quickly corrected via structural upgrades. [11]

In its first year of operation, over 118,000 vehicles crossed the bridge. [12] Today, annual crossings exceed 2,000,000 vehicles. [13]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Thousand Islands International Bridge Facts". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  2. Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Toll Rate Classification Schedule, 1 April 2018, retrieved 21 July 2018
  3. "Our History". Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  4. "Authority Info". Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  5. "Bridge to accept EZPass".
  6. "E-ZPass comes to Thousand Islands Bridge". WWNY 7News. WWNY-TV. 2019-06-27. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  7. "Florida's SunPass electronic toll device soon to be accepted in more states". miamiherald. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  8. "Chapter 4: The Watery Boundary". United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border. The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Winter 2015.
  9. "Ground Is Broken On Site Of Bridge Over St. Lawrence". The Post-Star. 1937-05-01. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  10. "Two Nations Hail Peace Bond In New Bridge Rite". Democrat and Chronicle. 1938-08-19. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  11. In the Wake of Tacoma. pp. 59–60. ISBN   0-7844-0542-5.
  12. "Bridges as Symbols". Star-Gazette. 1939-07-10. p. 6. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  13. "Upgrading 1000 Islands Bridge". Andre Construction. 2019-12-06. Retrieved 2023-12-09.