Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge in New York City that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in United States (completed in 1883) and a first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world.
Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling. While conducting some of the last measuring across the East River ferry crushed his foot against the piling. HIs foot had to be amputated but he got tetanus from it, fell into a coma and died from tetanus 3 weeks after the amputation and just few days after he placed his son Washington Roebling in charge of the building the bridge. Construction began on January 3, 1870. First step was building of solid foundations for the bridge. That was achieved by using “caissons”, closed wooden boxes that were placed under water and filled with compressed air that allowed workers to dig the riverbed. Problem with caissons is a danger of getting so-called “caisson disease” - a decompression sickness that appears in construction workers when they leave compressed atmosphere to fast and enter normal atmosphere. One of the first victims of caisson disease was Washington Roebling, which left him paralyzed and bedridden, so his wife, Emily Warren Roebling had to step in and spend next 11 years as his assistant and supervisor of the construction of the bridge.
On May 24, 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was opened for public. Thousands of people were present and the opening ceremony as well as many ships. American president Chester A. Arthur and New York Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge from the New York side to Brooklyn side where Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low greeted them to cannon fire in celebration of the opening. Washington Roebling was not able to attend ceremony so President Chester A. Arthur visited Roebling at his home shook hands with him. Nevertheless, Roebling held a banquet at his home on that day, in celebration of the opening of the bridge. On a first day after opening, some 1.800 vehicles and 150.000 people crossed the bridge. First one to cross the bridge was Emily Warren Roebling.
At the time when constriction was finished, Brooklyn Bridge was the longest bridge in the world with total length of 1825 meters. It stayed longest until 1903. Its cost was $15.5 million and 27 lives was lost during construction. On 30 May 1883, mere six days after the bridge was opened, a rumor spread that Brooklyn Bridge will collapse. That rumor cased stampede in which caused some twelve people to be trampled and killed. To remove rumors that the bridge is not stable (and to promote his circus at the same time), P. T. Barnum led 21 elephants across the bridge on May 17, 1884.
At the time when the bridge was constructed, there were no conditions to test aerodynamics of the bridge (tests of aerodynamics started in 1950s) but, luckily, there was no need for them. John Augustus Roebling designed the bridge six time stronger than it is needed and with that assured that it will last.
|Civic Center, Manhattan – Dumbo/Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn (New York City), United States
|Hybrid bridge, Cable-stayed bridge, Suspension bridge, Neo-Gothic bridge
|John Augustus Roebling
|Elevated trains (until 1944), Streetcars (until 1950), 6 lanes of roadway (cars), Pedestrians and bicycles
|25.9 metres (85 ft)
|1,825.4 metres (5,989 ft)
|Span / Longest Span
|486.3 metres (1,595.5 ft)
|84.3 metres (276.5 ft) above mean high water
|41.1 metres (135 ft)
|May 24, 1883
|New York City Department of Transportation
|Free both ways