Weird History

Building The Brooklyn Bridge Was An Unimaginably Complex And Brutal Undertaking

The Brooklyn Bridge is not only one of the top attractions of New York City, but it is also one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. It connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and crosses the East River. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. But building the bridge was a huge undertaking and fraught with tragedy. It took 14 years to complete and nearly 30 people died from various incidents during its construction.

After the bridge was completed in 1883, it supported horse-drawn carriages and rail traffic. A separate elevated walkway in the center was designated for pedestrians and bicycles. The bridge has carried six lanes of automobile traffic since 1950. After receiving a "poor" rating during a routine inspection, the bridge was renovated between 2010 and 2015 at a cost of $558 million. On an average weekday, an estimated 145,000 vehicles cross the bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been an invaluable method of transportation, particularly during the 1965, 1977, and 2003 New York City blackouts. In 2001, it famously transported thousands of pedestrians following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, when bus and subway services were suspended. To learn more about the disturbing and difficult task of building the Brooklyn Bridge, read on below.