Lewiston-Queenston Bridge

The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, also known as the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, is an iconic arch bridge that spans the Niagara River gorge, connecting the towns of Lewiston, New York, and Queenston, Ontario. The bridge was officially opened on November 1, 1962, and serves as an international gateway between the United States and Canada.

Designed by the renowned engineer Richard (Su Min) Lee, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is a twin of the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls. The bridge connects Interstate 190 in Lewiston to Highway 405 in Queenston and is a major transportation link for those traveling between the two countries. The bridge is also a popular spot for tourists, as it offers stunning views of the Niagara River and the surrounding area.

Customs plazas are located on both ends of the bridge, with tolls only charged for those entering Canada. The cost of the toll is USD 5.00 or CAD 6.50 per passenger automobile, and the bridge also accepts E-ZPass electronic toll collection. Additionally, two duty-free stores are located between the two plazas, making it a convenient stop for those looking to save on their purchases.

However, the bridge permits no pedestrians, and only licensed taxi service is permitted. It also lacks expedited border clearance facilities for NEXUS and FAST card holders traveling from the United States into Canada but does have a NEXUS lane for travel into the United States.

The bridge features gantries with lights indicating the direction of traffic, as the lanes are reversible. The speed limit on the bridge is posted in both kilometers and miles per hour, with a limit of 15 mph or 24 km/h. Canadian and United States flags fly at the midpoint on the south side of the bridge, symbolizing the international connection the bridge provides.

This is not the first bridge to connect Lewiston and Queenston. The first Queenston-Lewiston Bridge was built in 1851 but was later destroyed by wind in 1864. A second suspension bridge was later constructed and was moved to Queenston in 1898 after the completion of the Rainbow Bridge’s predecessor, the Upper Steel Arch Bridge. This suspension bridge was dismantled in 1963 after the current bridge was completed and opened. Reminders of the earlier bridge can still be seen in the area, including two columns within the Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park and an original plaque located midspan alongside the road, right at the border between the two countries.

On December 1, 1961, a tragic event occurred when an F-100 fighter belonging to the United States Air Force crashed into the Niagara River while the bridge was under construction. The pilot, 1st Lt. Charles J. Kettles, Jr., was able to safely eject from the plane, but the incident serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of bridge construction.

The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is an important transportation link between the United States and Canada, as well as a popular tourist destination. Its striking arch design and international significance make it a cool attraction for those visiting the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.