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Lewiston-Queenston Bridge Marks 50 Years of Service | Community Spirit

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Lewiston-Queenston Bridge Marks 50 Years of Service
Lewiston-Queenston Bridge Marks 50 Years of Service

On Thursday, September 19th, 2013, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC) will host a commemorative binational ceremony to honor the 50th Anniversary of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

Officially opened in 1963, the bridge sits 370 feet above the Niagara River and measures 1,600 feet long, while featuring five reversible lanes that connect Canada and the United States between the historic heritage towns of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, and Lewiston, New York.  The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge serves the 5th highest volume of Can-Am commercial traffic, with millions of dollars in commerce crossing over the bridge each hour, representing thousands of trade and tourism-related jobs. The bridge is also the preferred border crossing for local residents and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who shop, stay, and play in the Niagara region every year.

“The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is so much more than just steel and concrete. It’s a safe, efficient passageway between the world’s two greatest nations,” said NFBC Chairperson Thomas Pryce.  “This span is open to all, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it has helped protect our borders, grow our economies, and connect our countries — for 50 years.”

To formally mark the anniversary occasion, local dignitaries and NFBC representatives are scheduled to gather in Lewiston with Consul General of Canada in New York John Prato and Consul General of the United States in Toronto Jim Dickmeyer for a private, ceremonial luncheon and discussion regarding important cross-border issues.  Topics will include the rise of trusted travel program usage, new border management technologies, and Beyond the Border Accord’s status and overall implementation.  The luncheon is set to conclude with a reading of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge 50th Anniversary joint-commendation offered by Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, Consul General Prato and Consul General Dickmeyer. 

Earlier this year, a celebratory website was launched at www.nfbc75.com to commemorate the Lewiston-Queenston 50th Anniversary and corresponding NFBC 75th Anniversary.  Lewiston-Queenston Bridge 50th Anniversary t-shirts were also issued and put on sale to the public in support of select regional food banks in August, and an art-deco designed poster was created for the crossing. An enhanced public fireworks display was coordinated through the Niagara Parks Commission on August 23rd over the Horseshoe Falls with thousands of spectators taking part.  Several “interesting historic facts” about the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge have been made available to the public and local media outlets on a weekly basis, and an expansive watercolor painting of the span by artist Paul Hanover will be formally unveiled later this fall.

“To acknowledge this golden anniversary, the NFBC came up with a series of exciting public events and activities intended to generate enthusiasm and appreciation for this important regional milestone,” said NFBC Vice Chairperson Ernest K. Smith.

About the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission:

A Joint Resolution of the 1938 U.S. Congressional Third Session created the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Extra Provincial Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario, Canada licenses the NFBC. Canada and the U.S. are equally represented on the NFBC by an eight-member Board of Commissioners.  Initially established to finance, construct and operate the Rainbow Bridge, the Commission proved sufficiently efficient and effective to assume responsibilities for the Whirlpool Rapids (Lower) and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges.  The NFBC builds and maintains all facilities for Customs and Immigration functions on both sides of the international border. The NFBC is self-supportive, largely through user fees (tolls) and private-sector tenant leases. NFBC is federally chartered to conduct international commercial financial transactions and issue federal (U.S.) tax-exempt bonds.

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