Bridges have long been constructed as a means of decoration, in addition to the convenience of transportation that they provide. It is no surprise then, that several bridges across the world have earned the status of heritage structures in their respective nations. The United States, in particular, has several examples of beautifully designed bridges that are seen as icons in the world of construction and design.
In this post, we have selected four such landmarks, that are as known for their utility as they are for their aesthetic value.
First up, we've put up a slideshow of these famous bridges, followed by a short description of each. Take a look.
The Brooklyn bridge connects Brooklyn and Manhattan, and extends over the East River. The construction of the bridge commenced in January 1870, and it was officially opened for public use on 24th May, 1883. Over 150,000 people crossed it on the day it was opened, and there was a fee of a cent per person to cross it. Moreover, around 1800 vehicles also used it on the same day after paying a fee of five cents per vehicle. Back in its time, it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge, and also the biggest of its kind in the world, at 6,016 feet.
It was designed by John Roebling, who was a well-known designer. However, the design that he made was not accepted by the city government authorities of both Brooklyn and New York. Eventually in June 1869, with some help from the business community and a member of a senate, his design was sanctioned. The laying of the foundation started on 3rd January, 1870, which took approximately three years to finish. This was the first bridge which had utilized dynamite for its construction. The bridge was built using steel cables which were not used for building a bridge before. Today, over 145,000 vehicles cross the Brooklyn bridge every day, however, there is no fee for people and vehicles for crossing it.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate bridge connects Marin County with the San Francisco peninsula. The name of the bridge has nothing to do with the actual appearance of the bridge, and it is not golden but reddish-orange in color. It refers to the prospectors approaching the gold fields, around 150 years ago, who called the entrance of the San Francisco bay as the 'Golden Gate'. The bridge design was prepared and the engineering was carried out by Joseph Strauss. The laying of the foundation and construction started on 5th January, 1933. The foundation of Golden Gate Bridge's north pier was constructed 20 feet beneath the ocean on a rock-bed, whereas, the foundation of the south pier was built in open waters.
A big pneumatic caisson was built, and hundreds of tons of concrete was pumped into it. The construction of the towers was finished in 1935, but the steel cables were to be hung. Finally, in 1937, the bridge was completely built. The total length of the bridge is around 2737 meters, width is about 27 meters, and height is 227 meters. The construction of the bridge took 12 lives, and 19 people were saved by the safety net. The people who were saved from falling, were later named as the 'Half-Way-To-Hell-Club'. The bridge was formally opened to the public on 27th May, 1937, and approximately 200,000 people crossed over it.
George Washington Bridge
The bridge is a two-level suspension bridge which crosses over the Hudson river and connects Fort Lee, New Jersey and upper Manhattan, New York. The bridge was designed by Othmar H. Ammann, and its construction commenced in October, 1927. The tower which was on the New Jersey's side was constructed around 76 feet into the river, whereas that on the New York's side was constructed after a considerable amount of time, due to a steep drop-off in the shorelines. Over 43,000 tons of steel was utilized in the construction of both towers, which have their individual elevators.
The bridge was completely constructed and opened to the public on 25th October, 1931. Its construction amounted to $52 million, and took 12 lives. When it was operational, it was a six-lane, single-level bridge. Ammann had engineered it in such a way that more lanes and levels could be added; and as a result, in 1946, two more lanes were included, and in 1962, the second level was totally operational. Today, the bridge has two lanes, the upper one with eight lanes, and the lower one with six lanes. Over 300,000 vehicles use the bridge to commute every day, which makes it one of the busiest bridges in the world.
Mackinac bridge ranks third in the list of world's biggest suspension bridges, being 26,371 feet long. It joins Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, and crosses over the straightaways of Mackinac. The engineering and the designing of the bridge was done by Dr. David B. Steinman who was also responsible for managing the work of around 3,500 workers involved in the construction. The construction commenced on 7th May, 1954. Five lives were lost while the bridge was being constructed. The Mackinac bridge was opened for public use on 1st November, 1957, but was officially dedicated on 25th June, 1958.
There are many more beautiful bridges in the United States which enable people to travel from one place to another, enhance the town's scenery, and also are well-built to handle natural disasters.