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Triborough Bridge to bear Robert F. Kennedy’s name

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Astoria’s Triborough Bridge will officially become the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in mid−November when the state plans to put up several million dollars worth of new signs at toll plazas and along roads leading up to the bridge, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said.

The state Assembly and Senate voted earlier this year to rename the bridge after the late U.S. senator from New York in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of his death. Gov. David Patterson signed the bill into law last summer.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the bridge will be rechristened with its new name at a Nov. 19 ceremony, which would have been the day before Kennedy’s 83rd birthday. The DOT will erect an estimated 130 signs at all toll plazas on the bridge and roads approaching the structure, a spokesman said.

The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights is also undertaking a campaign that includes placing more than 1,000 advertisements inside subway cars and on platforms to tie in with the bridge’s renaming. The ads will include some of Kennedy’s most famous quotes.

The MTA will also distribute several million MetroCards with Kennedy quotes on them, a spokesman for the agency said.

Kennedy served as one of New York’s U.S. senators from 1965−1968. He was assassinated in California on June 5, 1968, after winning that state’s Democratic primary during the race for the party’s presidential nomination.

“Robert Kennedy loved New York, he grew up there and considered it his home, dedicating much of his final years to improving the quality of life for its most vulnerable citizens,” said his son, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in a statement. “He would be humbled by the symbolism of the structure bearing his name.”

The Triborough Bridge, which was built during the Great Depression under the direction of Robert Moses and the New Deal programs, opened for traffic in July 1936.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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