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Manhattan Bridge

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Manhattan Bridge Photo

Manhattan Bridge History

“The Manhattan Bridge carries automobile, truck, subway, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic over the East River. The Bridge runs between Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn and Canal Street in Chinatown, Manhattan.

The Bridge supports seven lanes of vehicular traffic, four transit train lines, a pedestrian walkway and a Class 1 bikeway. Every weekday, the Bridge carries over 450,000 commuters, including 106,700 commuters in 85,400 vehicles, 4,000 bicyclists and 340,900 mass transit riders in 950 subway trains. Over 75% of all Manhattan Bridge crossings are by public transit.

The youngest of the three DOT East River suspension bridges, construction began on October 1, 1901. The bridge opened to traffic on December 31, 1909 and completed in 1910. The Bridge’s total length is 5,780 feet from abutment to abutment at the lower level; and 6,090 feet on the upper roadways from portal to portal. Its main span length is 1,470 feet long and each of its four cables is 3,224 feet long. The Bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff (1872-1943), who also assisted in designing the George Washington and Robert F. Kennedy Bridges. The Manhattan entrance to the bridge is distinguished by an elaborate stone portal and vast plaza, designed by the architectural team of Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the main branch of the New York Public Library.

The Bridge was the first to be built based on deflection theory, a radical engineering theory at the time. This theory held that the inherent structure of suspension bridges makes them stronger than was previously thought. Consequently, the Bridge does not have massive stiffening trusses like those used on the Williamsburg Bridge.

In 2009, the Bridge’s centennial year, the American Society of Civil Engineers named it a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. A bronze plaque commemorating this honor hangs on the south side path on the Brooklyn side of the bridge near the intersection of Jay Street and Sands Street.”  From the NYC DOT

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