September 4th, 2010

Naked bone of an echo

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I live literally a block and a half away from the walkway entrance to this particular bridge and it just begs daily to be walked over. On the other side of the bridge is Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first week after the initial move, I took a walk over the bridge to explore Williamsburg a bit. There are actually three bridges in lower Manhattan that can be walked over; Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is the most iconic of the three and that's a walk I am looking forward to taking a part in sometimes this fall, for sure. The Williamsburg Bridge has a lot of charm though. It's not as well traversed as the Brooklyn Bridge and so as a pedestrian it can sometimes feel as if you are the lone traveler crossing the bridge. The bridge turned 100 years old in 2003.

"Construction on the bridge, the second to cross this river, began in 1896, with Leffert L. Buck as chief engineer, Henry Hornbostel as architect and Holton D. Robinson as assistant engineer, and the bridge opened on December 19, 1903 at a cost of $24,200,000. At the time it was constructed, the Williamsburg Bridge set the record for the longest suspension bridge span on Earth. The record fell in 1924, when the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed.

It is an unconventional structure, as suspension bridges go; though the main span hangs from cables in the usual manner, the side spans leading to the approaches are cantilevered, drawing no support from the cables above. The main span of the bridge is 1,600 feet (490 m) long. The entire bridge is 7,308 feet (2,227 m) long between cable anchor terminals, and the deck is 118 feet (36 m) wide. The height at the center of the bridge is 135 feet (41 m) and each tower is 335 feet (102 m); these measurements taken from the river's surface at high water mark.

This bridge and the Manhattan Bridge are the only suspension bridges in New York City that still carry both automobile and rail traffic. In addition to this two-track rail line, connecting the New York City Subway's BMT Nassau Street Line and BMT Jamaica Line, there were once two sets of trolley tracks." - Source.

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