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Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls)

Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge as seen from Canada, 2013
Carries 4 lanes of vehicular traffic (2 each way), pedestrian traffic
Crosses Niagara River
Locale Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York
Official name Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge
Maintained by Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
Design Arch bridge
Total length 1,450 feet (440 m)
Longest span 940 ft (286 m)
Construction cost $4 million [1]
Opened November 1, 1941 (1941-11-01)
Toll US-to-Canada only:
3.50 USD/CAD per auto
($3.25 with ExpressPass/Prepaid NEXUS)
50 cents USD/CAD per pedestrian/bicycle[2]

The Rainbow Bridge, officially the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, is an Niagara Falls, New York, United States (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (west). It is named for the fact that you can often see a rainbow over the Niagara Falls, which are just upstream from the bridge.


  • Construction 1
  • Description and specifications 2
  • Cityscape 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Rainbow Bridge was built near the site of the earlier Honeymoon Bridge, which had collapsed on January 27, 1938, due to an ice jam in the river. A joint Canadian and American commission had already been considering a new bridge to replace it, and the collapse added urgency to the project.

The engraved text giving the biblical origin of the Rainbow term, beneath a carved rendition of the Royal Arms of Canada.

A design by architect Richard (Su Min) Lee was chosen (and later used again for the Queen Elizabeth, during their visit to Niagara Falls as part of the 1939 royal tour of Canada, dedicated the site of the Rainbow Bridge; a monument was erected to commemorate the occasion. Construction began in May 1940. The bridge was officially opened on November 1, 1941.

The origins of the name are speculative, with one possible origin being T.B. McQuesten, then chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission, and another a delivery boy who had forgotten the name of the city. It was likely inspired by Genesis 9:12–17. Irrespective of its origins, the name was in use by the NRBC as early as March 1939.[3]

Description and specifications

The New York State Department of Transportation designates the bridge as NY 955A, an unsigned reference route, while the Ontario Ministry of Transportation designates the bridge as part of Highway 420 (and the original routing of the Queen Elizabeth Way), even though it is separated from the rest of the route by a regional road. On the American side, a number of state and national routes end at a set of intersections in front of the bridge. New York routes 104 and 384, as well as the northern section of the Robert Moses State Parkway, all terminate at the final intersection before the bridge, and none of the designations passes onto the bridge itself. U.S. Route 62 terminates two blocks north at route 104, which then continues to the bridge.

The bridge as viewed from the Canadian side.
Bridge and Falls at night

The complex on the Canadian side of the Rainbow Bridge features the Rainbow Tower, which houses a large carillon that sounds several times daily.

The bridge permits no commercial trucks; the nearest border crossing for these is the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.[4]

The toll to cross the bridge for each pedestrian and bicycle is 50¢ USD or CAD, and $3.50 USD or CAD for automobiles. Car tolls are collected when leaving the United States. Pedestrian toll is collected by an automatic turnstile when leaving Canada.[2]


Panoramic view of the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls which connects U.S and Canada.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Niagara Falls Bridge Commission: Toll Cost & Vehicle Definitions
  3. ^ Stamp, Robert M. (1992). Bridging the Border: Structures of Canadian–American Relations. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 128.  
  4. ^ Niagara Falls Bridge Commission: Which Bridge to Take?

External links

  • Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
  • Google Maps view of Rainbow Bridge
  • Live Traffic Camera of Rainbow Bridge
  • Images from the Historic Niagara Digital Collections
  • Rainbow Bridge at Structurae

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