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What is the Brooklyn Bridge?

The Brooklyn Bridge is a famous suspension bridge spanning the narrow stretch of water in the Atlantic Ocean known as the East River, which separates the islands of Brooklyn and Manhattan, both of which are districts of New York City, in the United States of America.

What is the importance of the Brooklyn Bridge?

The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a remarkable engineering feat that set several milestones in the 19th century. For 30 years it held the record for the longest span bridge in the world. It is built with granite, cement, limestone and steel (which was not a material widely used in construction in that part of the world at that time). Work began in 1870 and was completed 13 years later. It was the first bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it is still in operation nearly 150 years after its opening.

The construction of the bridge greatly boosted the development of Brooklyn and facilitated the economic growth and expansion of New York City. Prior to its existence, communication between the two districts was by means of boats and ferries, which considerably limited the transport of people and goods to prevailing navigational conditions and the availability of ships.

The bridge is an important historical and cultural landmark in New York and has appeared in numerous films, books and works of art. Today, it is a symbol of the city and one of the must-see sights of the Big Apple. 

The design and structure of the Brooklyn Bridge have influenced bridge architecture throughout the world. The bridge hangs from its two neo-Gothic stone towers with pointed arches. The pillars were built on the foundations of the riverbed. The towers have a maximum height of 84.4 meters. On them rest the 4 cables of 40 centimeters in diameter each, from which 1520 suspension cables are hung to support the bridge girders and platform, together with another 400 stay cables that project diagonally from the towers, forming a lattice. Its open skeleton, formed by cables and beams, responds very well to possible wind threats, despite the fact that at the time aerodynamic tests had not yet been developed to ensure the resistance of structures of this size.

How long is the Brooklyn Bridge?

The Brooklyn Bridge has a total length of approximately 1825 meters from one bank of the East River to the other. Its main span, that is, the distance between the two main towers of the bridge, is 486 meters. The bridge gauge is 41 meters. The gauge is the distance between the bottom of the bridge structure and the mean water level.

The width of the bridge is about 25.6 meters, which currently provides five car channels, a two-way channel exclusively for bicycles and a pedestrian walkway on the upper deck. Buses and trucks are prohibited from passing through due to weight and height limitations. In the past, horse-drawn carriages, streetcars and elevated trains also traveled along it.

What are the other bridges in Brooklyn?

In the area of the East River, two other bridges were subsequently built across the strait from north to south: the Williamsburg Bridge (1903), which connects the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and through which 3 subway lines pass; and the Manhattan Bridge (1909), which spans from Lower Manhattan to Flatbush Ave.

These subsequent projects arose as a direct consequence of the impact of the Brooklyn Bridge on the growth of New York and the precedent that this imposing structure had set in the history of construction.

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