Happy Birthday Bay Bridge! 

The Irondequoit Bay Bridge celebrated a birthday last month.

On Feb. 3, 2024, the Bay Bridge turned 54 years old. Stretching almost a half mile long, the bridge was christened on a snowy day in 1970, which was reportedly so cold that the celebratory wine froze in the glasses before it could be raised. 

Seven months later, on a much sunnier and warmer late August day, the bridge was officially dedicated with not one, but three ribbon cutting ceremonies; one held at the Irondequoit end, a second in the middle and a third at the Webster end.

The project took about two years to build, and apparently much of the discussion during the process centered around what to name the new span. Many ideas were suggested, including naming it after Donald Holleder or even calling it the Hiawatha Bridge. But state regulations didn’t allow any project using state money to be named after a person, so ultimately it became known only as the Irondequoit Bay Bridge.  

Interestingly, the plows waiting on that icy February morning to spread some salt across the newly opened bridge were not the first vehicles to cross. 

As reported Sept. 9, 1970 in the Webster Herald

The first “man” across the bridge made it on Feb. 3 at 4:28 a.m. via Union Hill Ambulance. He was then one-year old Kevin Lohse of Greensboro Drive who had stopped breathing. The ambulance was conducted by a police car driven by Sgt. Gil Kunzer whose idea it was to remove the bridge barriers, thus saving needed time and perhaps the youngster’s life. 

Young Kevin, healthy and happy, attended the ribbon cutting ceremonies in August. Discover more fascinating bits of local history at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster. It’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Visit the website at webstermuseum.org

Missy Rosenberry
Webster Community Blogger

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