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General Information

Beginning of works: 1901
Completion: 1912
Status: in use

Project Type

Awards and Distinctions


Location: , , ,
, , ,
  • East River
Next to: Brooklyn Bridge (1883)
Coordinates: 40° 42' 23.77" N    73° 59' 25.08" W
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Technical Information


main span 448.1 m
total length 2 089 m
height above valley floor or water 41.1 m
cables number of cables 4
strands per cable 37
wires per strand 256
cable diameter 53.975 cm
total number of wires per cable 9 472
deck deck depth 7.3 m
deck width 36.6 m
pylons height 102.4 m
main bridge
span lengths 221.0 m - 448.1 m - 221.0 m
number of spans 3


cost of construction United States dollar 31 084 705.00


cables steel
deck steel
foundations masonry
pylons steel
anchorages masonry


1 October 1901

Construction begins.

1 August 1908

Construction of the main cable begins.

10 December 1908

Main cable construction completed.

31 December 1909

Using wooden planks placed on the stringers, the bridge is first opened, although it is not yet completed.


Completion of the bridge.


Manhattan bridge was the first, bridge to have a 21-inch diameter main cable, largest at that time. It is still the strongest of the four east river bridges. The bridge originally was going to be a parallel wire cable suspension bridge, then an eyebar and chain type bridge, then finally reverted back to a parallel-wire cable suspension bridge. Both upper roadways of the bridge originally had [4] tracks for street cars [trolleys]. As time progressed, the tracks were removed to convert the roadways for vehicular traffic.

Manhattan bridge was the first suspension bridge to use flexible steel towers, unlike some other bridges such as the Williamsburg and the George Washington that used braced steel towers. The Manhattan bridge was the first modern steel suspension bridge to use a Warren type stiffening truss. It was the first modern steel suspension bridge to use two suspender ropes straddled over the main cables to attach to the floor beams.

Decorative spheres on top of the towers serve no function. Below them rest the saddles for the main cables. Leon Moisseiff was also advisory engineer of design of the Great George Washington Bridge. [Text contributed by Dave Frieder]


Initial construction (1901-1912)
Consulting engineers
Steel construction
Resident engineering
Monitoring equipment

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